CO > 00
a constructive policy
OUP 68 1 1-1-682,000.
OSMANIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Accession No. 7 ^
This book should be returned on or before the date
last marked below.
THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
A CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY
THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
A CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY
Prepared by a Committee of the
Rural Reconstruction Association
With a foreword by
Lord O'Hagan and Michael Beaumont, M.P.
and an illustration by
Elizabeth 3&ke Jenkins
GEORGE ALLEN & tJNWIN LTD
FIRST PUBLISHED IN GREAT BRITAIN IN
All rights reserved
Printed in Great Britain by
THE RIVERSIDE PKESS, EDINBURGH
THE importance of this book to the nation to-day depends
on two quite simple things.
The first that every social and economic problem from
Unemployment to War is linked up with the revival
of agriculture, and none can be dealt with until that
question is solved. Such a revival is therefore of
fundamental importance to the nation.
The second that this particular problem of the revival
of agriculture is very little understood. Indeed, whilst
very many books and reports have been issued in recent
years disparaging proposals for the restoration of agri-
culture to its proper place in our national life, not one,
so far as we are aware, has been issued in the last twelve
years giving the case for this restoration. The public is
therefore uninformed of the material facts. This book
gives the information that is needed.
There is another point that deserves to be mentioned
here. The simple way in which the book is written,
whilst it disarms criticism, may give the impression that
the analysis is superficial and therefore the conclusions
incorrect. It is therefore important that readers should
understand that the Rural Reconstruction Association
has been dealing continuously with this problem for
eleven years, during which time the Executive Committee,
meeting once a month, has given detailed attention to
every aspect of the question either as it arose or more
6 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
often in advance. Careful inquiries on all features of
the problem have concurrently been made in this 'and
other countries and we believe that no aspect of the
subject has been left unexplored. No investigation of
this character has, so far as we are aware, ever been
made into this or any other social or economic problem.
We have no hesitation in recommending the book to
MICHAEL BEAUMONT, Chairman of Council,
Rural Reconstruction Association.
I. The Problem in History II
n. Comments on Economics 25
ill. The Case for Rural Revival 30
A NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL POLICY
IV. Some General Considerations 49
v. Standard Prices 59
VI. Organisation of Distribution and Processing 72
VII. Regulation of Imports 86
vni. Balancing Supply and Demand 93
IX. Finance 99
THE NATIONAL ORGANISATION
x. An Agricultural Federation and a National
Food Council 103
XI. A Final Comment 115
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY
OUR reason for approaching the subject first from the
historical standpoint comes from a belief that it is only
from the study of history that we can secure a right
perspective. We doubt whether investigations of current
conditions alone lead to solutions, whatever their
value in other ways. Conditions vary in every country
and change every day; there is nothing which the mind
can take hold of, and their study may, if widely extended,
tend to superficiality and even to intellectual chaos. On
the other hand, the historical method of inquiry the
tracing of matters to and from their origin should
result in seeing the problem as a growth, rather than
as an incident in current life. A clear picture is thus
obtained and the principles that govern social life in all
time emerge. Moreover, the mind so equipped, seems
to turn naturally from looking back to looking forward.
We suggest then that the study of our social problems
should be in time as well as in space. Or, to state the
same point in a different form, it is from a study of
origins that we secure results.
This study of origins is always illuminating. Students
of the twin problems of employment and of unemploy-
ment work and leisure is a better phrase will be well
advised to look back at primitive society and meditate
12 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
on the two problems as they must then have arisen:
thereafter they should trace in outline the developments
that occurred in the growth of civilisation. This done,
a solution will occur to the mind.
It is, however, not necessary to go back to primitive
society to get a clear grasp of the special problem that
we have to deal with in Britain's agriculture to-day, for
ihe origin of that problem is comparatively modern.
The trouble arose, we suggest, in the eighteenth century
when, behind the smoke screen created by religious
hysteria, our national economic policy was turned into
a new channel. It ceased to be controlled by the realism
that had prevailed up to Tudor times, and began to be
influenced by abstract ideas which became more and
more powerful as generations passed. To-day the nation
is returning once more, unconsciously perhaps, to a
realistic outlook. So inspired we come quite naturally,
without perhaps thinking much about it, to the adoption
of the same economic policy that the earlier realists had
employed : the fixing of prices and wages, the control of
distribution, the regulation of imports, the balancing of
supply and demand, the provision of funds for con-
structive work, and the development of Land Settlement
for the unemployed. Although plans for dealing with
these particular issues seem to many to be new, they are
not so. Such plans are constantly found in earlier social
systems when realistic ideas governed economic policy,
and their practical working can be studied in this country
in Tudor times and indeed earlier.
The suggestion recently put forward that the various
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY 13
branches of industry should be controlled functionally
by* Federations is also the natural outcome of realistic
methods of thought, and can be studied in English history
in the life and work of the Guilds. 1
The same realistic outlook when applied to the proper
use of leisure also leads us to see the value of music,
pageants and plays, and a rich social life in the country-
side, and therefore to advocate their revival.
We can begin with advantage our study of realistic
economic policy by considering its results in country
life, as it was in the times of Queen Elizabeth, before the
great change in our economic system came about.
The cultivators of the land, freed from feudal domi-
nance, were at that time in the main free peasants : they
were not, as they became later, under the control of the
financiers, the traders, and the larger landowners and
farmers. Further, although the power of the Catholic
Church had weakened, much of its beneficial social
influence remained. Holy days remained as holidays,
and there were many of them : on an average, perhaps,
one a week. The dour influence of Puritanism had not
yet spread through the villages, and the importance of
cultivating the gentle art of happiness was recognised.
Under these conditions, the free peasant, finding that
he could easily produce, in a few days in every week,
more material wealth than his simple needs demanded,
was dealing with the problem which to-day we call
1 The Guild system was never extended to agriculture ; the village
farms were, however, largely controlled by a_ communal system,
which, like the Guilds, had a functional basis. See also p. 107.
14 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
"over-production," by cultivating both leisure and
pleasure. "This fellow is wise enough to play the fool,"
says Shakespeare. Fynes Moryson, writing early in the
seventeenth century, tells much of the English village
life, with its sports and pastimes, in which all classes took
their part. "What," he quaintly writes, "shall I say
of daunsing with Curious and rurall musicke, frequently
used by the better sort, and upon all hollydayes by
country people daunsing about the Maypooles with
bagpipes and other Fidlers, besydes the jollityes of
certain seasons of the yeare, of setting up may-pooles
daunsing the morris with hobby horses, bringing home
the lady of the harvest, and like Plebean sportes in all
which vanityes no nation commeth any thing neere the
Free then from the controls that had dominated his
life in the past and were to dominate him in the future,
the natural Englishman was building up in the country-
side his natural life. This life was undoubtedly in many
aspects crude and barbaric, and it is not necessary to be
enthusiastic about it. But it is useful to visualise it, for
it had certain important characteristics which depended,
as the life of a commimity always must, on the economic
policy of the nation, and it is this that we have to examine.
The traditional English policy, interwoven with ethical
considerations, was, consciously or unconsciously, directed
to protecting the interests of the producer and consumer:
the financier and the trader were to be their servants and
not their masters. It was concerned in creating material
wealth, but it gave due importance to spiritual wealth;
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY 15
it recognised the importance of the health of the people
and their happiness in their work and play.
In pursuit of these ideas trade and industry were
controlled, and it is the form that this control took which
deserves special and careful study. It was customary
to regulate wages and also to fix prices at a fair level
to maintain the just price as it was called in those days,
the standard price of to-day. Next, the problem of
distribution was dealt with, crudely and drastically, and
not in the scientific way that we now propose to introduce.
The dealer, the man who merely bought at one price
and sold at another, and so upset the economic system,
was liable to be fined, imprisoned, put into the pillory,
and even expelled from his home. The farmer could
sell his wheat to the miller, the miller his flour to the
baker and the baker his bread to the public at regulated
prices. Overseas trade, though much of it differed
fundamentally from trade in its modern form, being
rather of the nature of an adventure or gamble, might
also be regulated with a view to equalising supply and
demand. The lender of money, the predecessor of the
banker, was even more strictly controlled than the dealer.
The peasant, a producer of wealth, was protected.
Although there was considerable enclosure of the com-
munal village farms, enclosure had no support from
the Government, and was in fact restricted when it
became too frequent.
No doubt the economic problems were simpler than
they are to-day, but in their main outline they have not
changed. The point to see clearly is that they were
1 6 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
approached from a different viewpoint, the policy was
realistic. Although at the end of the reign of Queen
Elizabeth this realistic policy was losing some of its
directing force, it was not until the following century
that definite changes began.
It was the development of the gaiety and leisure of the
country people that seems first to have disturbed the
rulers of European countries and probably those of
England. The cultivators of the land ought to work
harder and produce more. Fynes Moryson defines this
outlook, translating thus a Latin tag :
The country clownes do best when they do weepe
And worst when they in plenty laugh and sleepe.
This, we gather, was becoming the rulers' outlook.
Inspired maybe in the main by this idea, although also
influenced by the Puritan prejudice against pleasure,
sports, cruel and otherwise, were forbidden in this
country, maypoles were pulled down, acting was a sin,
dancing was discouraged, singing was to be limited to
psalm singing. Saints' days ceased to be holidays:
"it was considered lawful," says Markham, "to be well
occupied on holydays," and the six days 5 working week
began. Moreover, whilst in many parts of Europe the
free peasantry was being re-enserfed, in England a
different policy was pursued. Enclosures were no longer
discouraged, and so the free peasants, deprived of their
land, began to be degraded into labourers. All these
points should be noted, without the dangerous element
of sentiment which destroys judgment, as the outward
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY IJ
signs of a change of economic policy. In the later policy,
reflected in its emphasis on the desirability of hard work
rather than happy living, we may find, if we examine it
closely, the origin of the modern problem of "over-
Another important change of economic policy has to
be noted. Up to the seventeenth century control by
finance had been feared and the lender of money at
interest was looked on as the enemy of the people.
Calvin, however, had attacked the Catholic teaching
against usury, and had gone some way to defend interest.
His view was developed with the growth of Protestantism
and even seems to have been accompanied by a tacit
alliance between the Protestant and financial interests.
In any case it is clear that, from about the middle of the
seventeenth century, the lending of money at interest was
not being treated as a social evil; one outcome was the
establishment, towards the end of that century, of the
Bank of England. From that time until the present day,
finance has steadily increased its power, sometimes no
doubt for better, and sometimes for worse.
In the next the eighteenth century we find all these
tendencies growing stronger. The English peasant was
being degraded into a labourer and joy was being taken
out of country life: work, not life, was to be the main
thing. Concurrently, finance was increasing its power.
But the more spectacular change that came in the
eighteenth century was the growing dominance of the
dealers and other traders, the men who bought at one
price and sold at another and thus undermined the idea
1 8 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
of a just price as between the producer and the consumer.
The truth that trade was a two-edged tool that might
do good or evil was being forgotten and in its place it
began to be argued that as an exchange of goods and
services it was from its very nature bound to be beneficial.
Dealing began to be defended. Adam Smith who, like
many of his followers, based his economic theories on
unproved dogmas rather than on facts, asserted, in op-
position to the popular view based on experience, that
"Dealers are no more to be feared than witchcraft."
Under the influence of such ideas the policy of supporting
the economic price-level by regulating distribution
At the same time opposition arose to the traditional
policy of fixing rates of wages and a bill introduced into
Parliament in 1795 to secure a minimum rate was de-
feated. Thereafter a system of family allowances, first
introduced by magistrates at Speenhamland in Berkshire,
was adopted in many parts of England and continued
until abolished by legislation in 1834. From that time
onwards it became a general practice to leave wages to
be settled by bargaining between farmers and labourers.
In the last year of the eighteenth century Pitt, following
Adam Smith, persuaded the Government of the day,
whilst import duties were retained, to withdraw its
support to restrictions on internal dealing. Price
regulations also disappeared about that time and as a
general result prices fluctuated to an extraordinary
extent. A chaotic period prevailed in rural life for the
first forty years of the nineteenth century. Enclosure
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY 19
and appropriation of the peasants' farms continued, with
the" result that almost everywhere the modern system
of landlord, tenant and labourer became established.
Dealers and traders spread over the countryside. Bankers
and other lenders of money became established in most
market towns of importance : everyone was tempted to
run into debt. It became also a common custom for
bankers to create and control their own money by issue
of their own bank notes; this practice gave them a
peculiar power. The position of the traders and dealers
was strengthened by a banker's practice of financing
those classes, who then in their turn lent money to the
farmers at high rates of interest. Traders and financiers
thus secured control of the situation: the producers
became, to a large extent, their servants.
The confusion was so great that in the forties the
country was brought to believe, by skilful propaganda,
that the central evil was not the dominance of the financier
and trader, but arose from the import duties. In despair
the removal of the duties was accepted by the nation.
This secured both internal and external freedom to trade.
The result, the country had been assured, would be the
fixing of prices at an economic level. Wheat prices, the
farmers were told, would settle down round about 458.
a quarter: in fact in the half century following the
abolition of the Corn Laws they varied between about
iys. 6d. and loos, a quarter. From that time onward
prices were left to take care of themselves. The view
put forward at that time in support of this policy deserves
to be stated since it is still widely believed. Prices, it
20 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
was said, interlocked with supply and demand on which
they depended, whilst such fluctuations in price as took
place would regulate automatically the supply and the
demand. As a result, it was argued, both prices and
supply and demand, controlled by economic laws, would
automatically adjust themselves. It does not seem to
have occurred to the theorists of that time that various
things affect prices besides supply and demand, whilst
other things affect supply and demand besides prices.
The law of supply and demand, as it was called, is a
myth, but it was myths that controlled economic thought
in the nineteenth century, and it was to this myth that
agriculture was sacrificed.
Although, as a result of complete free trade, prices
fluctuated wildly, and the dealers, traders and financiers
steadily strengthened their position, farmers did not,
for nearly half a century, suffer unduly; prices in
all branches of agriculture fluctuated up and down, but
there were always, or almost always, some branches of
agriculture in which profits were good, and so some
chance of making money, of which the more versatile
farmers took full advantage. Moreover farmers were
able to base their economic life on the presence of a
mass of semi-serf, highly skilled, grossly underpaid, and
incredibly hard-working labourers. Nevertheless, this
poverty of the land worker and the corresponding poverty
of the workers in the towns, whilst it undermined the
home market did not in itself undermine, as it might well
have done, our economic life. Indeed, the evil was not
pven detected, for the loss of home trade was more than
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY 21
counterbalanced by the rapid development of overseas
trade : whilst the emigration of that part of the population
that would otherwise have drifted into permanent un-
employment, alleviated the situation. It was not till
the last quarter of the nineteenth century that the policy
adopted in the first half had its full effect and there was
a collapse in agriculture.
In the first decade of the present century a new wave
of thought began to emerge. It indicated a return to
realism. Its outward signs in the countryside were the
passing of the Acts for resettlement of the people in
small holdings and the foundation of the Agricultural
Organisation Society. This Society attempted, without
sufficient knowledge of the subject, and so without much
success, to undermine the power of the trader and the
financier and to apply co-operative methods amongst
producers to organise agricultural marketing and finance.
The whole problem was faced in a more practical way
by an organisation called The Land Club Union, which
consisted of a federation of local organisations or clubs
of land workers. This organisation stood primarily for
land settlement, but had for its intellectual background
the policy laid down in 1925 by the Rural Reconstruction
Committee, and now being adopted by the nation, that is
to say, the regulation of wages, the introduction of
standard, or as they were then called "just" prices, the
scientific organisation of distribution and the regulation
of imports. Concurrently came a movement for the
revival of social life in rural England. We were swinging
back, in the world of thought at any rate, and to some
22 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
extent in action, to the traditional outlook of the
The ideas that germinated in the first decade of the
century began to show fruit in the later years of the Great
War. Minimum prices were guaranteed for wheat and
oats, and wages were regulated. Agriculture, the country
was told, was never again to be allowed to sink into the
background of national life. Further, immediately after
the War, land settlement, especially of ex-service men,
was started on a large scale. This policy did not, however,
accord with the financial policy of the nation, and in 1921
it was reversed. Agricultural development was no longer
to be encouraged; and both guaranteed prices and
regulated wages were swept away. Although the regula-
tion of wages was reintroduced in 1924, there was no
corresponding fixing of prices and no policy for the
development of agriculture as a whole. As a result the
million or so of our workers who might have been absorbed
into agriculture remained permanently unemployed, as
emigration, which might have drawn off this surplus,
was stopped by restrictions in other countries.
Nevertheless the intellectual movement for rural
revival continued. Various books and pamphlets ex-
plaining the agricultural problem and giving constructive
and realistic policies were published. Of these perhaps
the most important were Agriculture and the Guild System,
published in I923, 1 and the Report of the Rural Recon-
struction Committee* This report remains even to-day
1 Issued by the National Guilds League: King & Son.
2 Issued under the title 'A National Rural Policy': Noel Douglas.
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY 23
the most comprehensive analysis of the position, and its
price fixing and marketing proposals have formed the
basis of subsequent Government policies. The Rural
Reconstruction Association was formed in 1926 to secure
national adoption of the proposals put forward in the
report. Four years later, as a result of intensive pro-
paganda, these ideas were soaking into the minds of
politicians and were later embodied in a somewhat
tentative form in the various Acts of Parliament,
Marketing Schemes and Administrative Orders adopted
in the years 1931-35, and in a more complete form in
the Wheat Act of I932. 1
At the time of the Ottawa Conference in 1932 the
Government indicated that they were prepared to give
the British farmer the first claim on the home market,
and in the following year Mr Walter Elliott, the Minister
of Agriculture, 2 announced that his agricultural policy
was directed to absorbing a large section of the un-
employed and to securing occupation for an additional
million workers on the land. Here, however, it seems he
did not have the support of other members of the
Government who apparently were not prepared to adopt
a comprehensive policy. Nor did they face the problem
as a whole. Though there had been much important
investigation of details, especially of marketing of food
products, 3 there was no investigation of the agricultural
1 See Appendix, note I.
2 The Rt. Hon. Walter E. Elliott, M.C., F.R.S., Minister of
8 See in particular the Orange Books on marketing issued by the
Ministry of Agriculture.
24 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
problem as a whole, an obvious essential to success,
whilst no suitable and comprehensive form of organisation
was constructed. Indeed everything in the years 1931-35
appears to have been carried out in a curiously haphazard
way. The marketing legislation was operated in a ten-
tative and piecemeal manner and dealt directly only with
wheat, milk, hops, potatoes and bacon. Later a subsidy
was given to fat stock. Concurrently the Government,
reverting to an older policy, gave protection by means
of tariffs, varying in amount from time to time, to
agricultural products with certain specific exceptions.
Of these exceptions the most important are live animals,
beef, mutton, pork and bacon, wool, flax and certain
hides and skins. Preferences or exemptions from duties
were given to imports from the countries within the
Empire whilst, on the other hand, temporary special
duties were imposed on imports from Ireland. At the
same time imports were regulated under various agree-
ments with the exporting countries.
The action taken appears to have aimed at supporting
the position of the farmers concerned in production of
specific commodities, and did not deal with agriculture
as a whole. Nevertheless all these enactments and the
schemes under which they were enforced, incomplete
as they are, indicate a new line of policy, following closely
the lines of the comprehensive proposals of the Rural
Reconstruction Association. It is these proposals that
are restated, so far as they relate to marketing and
production, in a more complete form in the following
pages of this book.
COMMENTS ON ECONOMICS
IT is not possible to deal here in detail with the school
of thought that has been built up in the last two hundred
years under the title of "Political Economy," nor with
the ideas that are beginning to replace the theories of the
past. The few comments that follow may, however, throw
light on the economic aspects of the agricultural problem
as a whole, and on the proposals set out in this work.
"Political Economy" when founded in the eighteenth
century appears to have drawn its inspiration from an
enthusiasm for "The Noble Savage"; it assumed that
man would be in the future, as he had been in the past,
essentially a barbarian. It was not by reconciling con-
flicting interests that we were to develop our civilisation,
but by fostering a competitive struggle, out of which
would come what was vaguely called "progress":
barbaric ideas were the fundamental ideas, and they had
to be applied to trade and industry. Economic teaching
therefore gave its blessing to the struggle and propounded
theories to support its creed. It fostered the trade war,
the price war, and the class war. The fruit of this
teaching was seen in the Economic Crisis of 1931.
A different method of approach is now suggested.
Economic studies should be directed to finding the best
way to secure the creation of wealth that is, the pro-
vision of the things fundamental to a civilised life:
houses, light and heat, food, and clothing, four purely
26 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
material things and easily created under modern con-
ditions; and also health, knowledge and happiness,
three spiritual elements of civilisation. It is maintained
that the development of a nation's civilisation depends
on adjusting and preserving a balance not, as is sometimes
suggested, between agriculture and industry, but between
the work of creation in those seven groups; and that a
large part of our difficulties arises from the under-
development in this country of the services that go to
the provision of five of these essentials : houses, food,
health, knowledge and happiness. It is a mistake merely
to concentrate energy on producing the material things;
they have to be created under conditions that accord with
the development of health, happiness and knowledge.
That, not financial advantage, is the test. If this be a
true interpretation, our immediate national economic
policy should be consciously directed to employing the
unemployed in the creation of these five specific under-
developed elements of civilised life: by such a policy
the unemployed of all classes should be rapidly absorbed
in creative work.
A few points may now be noted on which an approach
to economics based on this outlook leads to opinions
which differ from the popular views on economic problems,
opinions themselves derived from the orthodox traditional
teaching of Political Economy.
It is constantly said that our evils are due to "great
economic causes over which we have no control" and
that "the ultimate cure" of unemployment "can only
come from international action." Viewed from a more
realistic standpoint this explanation may be doubted.
COMMENTS ON ECONOMICS 2J
At the present time we have no control over international
economic life, and we are forced by circumstances to
confine ourselves to the sphere in which we can take
effective action that is, to our own country. In our
view, unemployment, whatever the cause, can then only
be dealt with if the nation secures local and national
control of the problem and takes appropriate action.
We shall not thereby prejudice any international action
which may become possible in the future.
Further it is often stated that the country cannot raise
the standard of life of our people save by the development
of overseas trade. This theory is difficult to accept.
We maintain on the contrary that the standard of living
can be raised by directing our national policy to utilising
those who would otherwise be unemployed in the creation
in our own country of the houses, food and such other
specific things as are needed to enrich the people.
A popular view to-day is that we have to enlarge our
farms and factories and so obtain large-scale production.
It should be realised that with certain exceptions it is
quite easy to produce all that we need from large or
small farms and factories. Both the large and small
units have their social and economic value and may well
go on side by side, as they do to-day in this country.
We have not therefore to consider whether large or
small farms or factories result in the largest production
per unit of labour, but should devote our attention
to building up such units of production, large or small,
as suit the temperament of our people and lead both to
the creation of the material wealth needed and to the
happiness of the workers.
28 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
It is a common opinion, constantly put forward by
politicians, that we should concentrate our energy on
"stimulating trade" both at home and abroad. The
alternative view is that whilst all, or almost all, forms
of trade benefit traders and financiers, the effect of trade
on the life of a nation is either constructive or destructive,
creating according to its character wealth and employment
or poverty and unemployment. We should then consider
each branch of trade on its merits, foster that which is
constructive and put an end to that which is destructive.
The popular economic theories caused us in the past
to place emphasis on "cheapness": the maintaining of
economic price-levels is beginning to be recognised as
of primary importance.
A phrase that appears constantly in the Press and
propaganda to-day states that "the object of production
is consumption." Quite apart from the point that the
word "consumption" creates intellectual confusion (for
whilst we produce food for consumption, we produce
houses to live in and clothes to wear, and health to be
enjoyed), the phrase implies an undue limitation. The
object of productive work is not merely consumption, it
is twofold: the creation of a good life amongst the
producers, as well as the goods that are needed.
Orthodox economists of the traditional school still
tend in their thinking towards laissez faire, the
modern or realistic school towards " Functionalism," the
art of organisation for the essential purpose. Finally,
orthodox economists have taught in the past, and the
idea is still widely held, that the test of the value of
any particular economic plan depends og.Jts financial
COMMENTS ON ECONOMICS 29
advantage. The realists would say on the "wealth/'
material and spiritual, created and distributed.
The policy defined in this book appears to us to be
based on what may be called the realistic outlook. We
suggest indeed that the policy outlined is the natural
outcome of studying problems historically and economics
realistically, just as the books that come to different con-
clusions l are the outcome of studying problems solely as
they are to-day and interpreting them in the light of
orthodox economic theories.
It is true that in recent years the orthodox economic
theories have been modified by leading authorities, whilst
many of the more intelligent economists have devoted
themselves to research work of inestimable value and
have left theories alone. Nevertheless the traditional
economic theories still continue to form the basis of
books and propaganda, and to a considerable extent of
Government policy. They will also continue to be
taught. But they will cease to be believed: for the
underlying dogma, the belief in the struggle, a relic of
barbarism, will be replaced by a belief that the building
up of our civilisation depends not on the struggle but
on the reconciling of conflicting interests, and of co-
operative rather than competitive action. Indeed realistic
economic ideas are being rapidly assimilated by the
younger politicians and other thinkers, and even
incorporated into practical proposals.
1 See, for example^ The Agricultural Dilemma, the report of the
inquiry organised by Lord Astor and Mr B. Seebohm Rowntree;
and Mr Menzies Kitchin's Report on Land Settlement, issued by the
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL
THROUGHOUT the century that lay between the Napoleonic
Wars and the Great War of 1914 to 191 8, our leaders of
thought and action, obsessed by the spectacular develop-
ment of finance, industry and overseas trade, lost sight
of the importance of rural life to racial growth and of
agriculture to economic progress.
During almost the whole of that time, national policy
was, consciously or unconsciously, anti-rural: the result
became manifest in widespread unemployment amongst
agricultural workers followed by a steady drift from the
countryside to the great cities, creating first over-crowding
and slums and thereafter accentuating the evils of poverty
and unemployment in the industrial areas. For un-
employment, born in the villages, grew up in the
It is events such as these that cause the decay of nations.
Two great catastrophes, war and the economic crisis,
have shaken our national complacency and somewhat
changed our outlook on all social and economic problems.
As a result, though there is an enormous amount of
excited talk that confuses the public mind, we are
beginning to think more profoundly and more carefully
on agricultural problems than ever before: indeed many
people are saying that our anti-rural policy has been our
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 3!
chief mistake of the past and that the revival of agriculture l
is our best hope for the future.
Nevertheless, even to-day, few of our leaders appear
to realise how large a part of the national difficulties that
marked these recent catastrophes arises from the
decadence of agriculture and rural life. The nation
has to realise clearly that the under-development of
agriculture has been responsible for a large part of the
unemployment, and is a main cause of national im-
poverishment; undoubtedly, if an economic policy
directed to agricultural revival had been adopted in
time, we should have avoided the worst features of the
economic crisis. Moreover it should be borne in mind
that the recent revival in overseas trade and of the
employment in industry that went with it, must soon
reach its limit of expansion, even if it has not already
done so; and we must then turn to the development
of our own country, in which development agriculture,
afforestation and horticulture are of primary importance.
Since the importance of rural life to the nation is still
insufficiently understood, something may well be said
on the general case for rural revival.
A prosperous agriculture, for which this country is
so well adapted, is as essential in times of prosperity
as in periods of adversity. In the economic sphere, it
creates in the food produced, and such other products
1 It may be noted here that the emphasis so often laid by writers
on food production has caused many people to overlook the fact that
agriculture is concerned with products other than food and drink:
wool, hides and sheep skins, for example; horticulture has also in
recent years become an important industry. See Appendix, note 2.
32 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
as hides and wool, material wealth for the nation, and
provides the best natural permanent market for the
output of the industrial areas. It would go far to secure
a properly balanced economic life, which could be
accompanied by the gradual reduction within our
national boundaries of hours of labour, and the raising
of rates of wages. By enriching the nation it not only
spreads and thus reduces the burden of taxation, but
also goes far to provide the margin of weakh needed
for a proper development of the social services that deal
with health, knowledge and happiness.
Moreover, although the main case for agricultural
revival belongs to the future of our national life, immediate
large scale development of agriculture would help us to
deal with our immediate problems. It would give
employment to workers of all classes in the reclamation
of the large areas that need to be brought under culti-
vation, 1 the erection of farmhouses, farm buildings and
cottages, carrying out drainage and irrigation, developing
electric supply and the provision of agricultural machinery
and the other equipment needed for revival. It would
thus at once absorb a large section of the unemployed
in services that lead to the enrichment of the nation and
save the heavy costs of their unemployment. Thereafter
it would make it possible to withdraw into rural areas
and devote to agricultural production such part of the
1 See The Land., Now and To-morrow > by Professor R. G. Stapledon,
C.B.E., M. A Professor of Agricultural Botany^ University College of
Wales, where an examination of the problem of reclaiming land
will be found. He takes the view that there are "vast acreages of
land to be reclaimed."
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 33
surplus town population as has a rural outlook: un-
doubtedly this is a very large part, for the Englishman
is by temperament a land cultivator. Moreover, agri-
cultural production has a special advantage, sometimes
overlooked, in that in many cases it secures a quick
return for investment.
These advantages are in the main economic. Never-
theless prosperity for agriculture is not advocated merely
as a means of getting us out of our present economic
difficulties, though undoubtedly it will go a long way
to do so. It is a problem of the future of our race, the
creating of a healthy form of civilisation. For a rural
population, whether it be grouped in villages, in the
present country towns or in new towns in agricultural
areas, 1 is of fundamental importance to a sane form of
civilisation. Country people, if living in prosperity, are
far more sturdy, healthy and happy than the dwellers
in overcrowded cities and industrial areas. Moreover, the
countryman, if a slow thinker and without intellectual
brilliance, has, as a rule, a profounder understanding
than the townsman and thus a more balanced outlook
on life; he is substantially immune from the influence
of the stunts, slogans and illusions that poison the
thought of the day. His daily work involves initiative,
responsibility and constructive action, and encourages
constructive thinking, the absence of which is so
conspicuous a defect of our civilisation. Town life
1 It is insufficiently realised that under modern conditions it is not
always necessary for farm workers to live on the land. A very large
number could live in country towns and go out to work and so have
the advantage of the social life of the town.
34 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
undoubtedly offers greater resources for recreation and
education than the countryside to-day; nevertheless, if
agriculture were placed on a sound economic basis,
the position would be reversed. When prosperity
returns to the countryside, the countryman will produce
a deeper culture, even if it be less varied, and the recrea-
tional opportunities of the country, with its open-air
pursuits, are peculiarly rich. Moreover, the develop-
ment of the life of the countryside, with its close contact
with the ever-evolving life of nature, will tend to cure
the evil of spiritual impoverishment from which the
nation as a whole now suffers. Civilisation is no doubt
born in the towns, but common sense, the quality that
our civilisation obviously needs, especially in times of
national difficulty and danger, is the typical characteristic
of the countryman.
Moreover, and the point is of great importance to our
national life, home production will provide us with an
ample supply of fresh and wholesome food. There can
be no doubt that much of the food consumed to-day by
the poorer classes is of low quality and has grave effects
on the nation's standard of health. It is only by the
development of home production that we can obtain
the fresh food needed for health. Such production will
interlock with proposals l for raising the standard of
health of the people by increasing the consumption of
Rural revival with its immense economic and socio-
1 Such proposals are under the consideration of the Government
at the time of writing, April 1936.
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 35
logical advantages is then of great importance to the
nati&n, and indicates the most promising way of escape
from our national economic dislocation and our spiritual
degradation. It is indeed an essential factor in any
policy of national reconstruction.
It will now we hope be admitted that a rural revival
is desirable from every point of view, and we may now
consider the possibilities of increased production.
At the present time the value of our agricultural
output is about 248,000,000 x a year at wholesale prices,
whilst the imports of food and other agricultural pro-
ducts appear to be about 378,000,000 2 a year, of
which about three-quarters is of the character that is
produced in this country. 3 The balance consists of
tropical products, such as tea, coffee and certain fruits,
rice and maize, with which may be grouped wine
and such fruits and vegetables as may with advantage
come into this country at times of year when they cannot
be produced here. Prices are not an exact measure of
quantities, but the proportion of the food consumed that
is produced at home is clearly somewhere between 35
and 40 per cent, of our total national consumption.
Home production occupies the energies of about 1,150,000
workers of all classes, which, if we include wives and
families, means that about 7 per cent, of our population
is directly concerned in agriculture, 4 whilst the European
average, outside Russia, is between 30 and 40 per cent.
Our capacity for food production is still little under-
1 Based on the Ministry of Agriculture's figures.
2 Tobacco excluded. 8 See Appendix, note 3. 4 See App. 5 note 4.
36 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
stood by the public, since politicians, certain economists
of the orthodox school, the Press, and also the teachers in
the elementary and secondary schools, have been telling
us for the last half-century that Britain is esseq|ially an
industrial country, quite unsuited to produce more than
a small proportion of its own food supplies. Even as late
as 1930 The Economist ,* which has the reputation of being
the most accurate paper in the world on problems of
economics and related statistics, supported a statement
made by Lord (then Sir Edward) Iliffe, 2 that "we can
only produce sufficient food to feed one-third of our
population," and supplemented it by a further explanation
that our economic life depended on our being able to
export manufactured goods to provide our food supplies.
Since that date statements have been made over the
wireless, in the Press and elsewhere, to the effect that we
can produce only a portion of oilr food supplies, the
proportion varying, it appears, according to the speaker
or writer, from 22^ per cent, to 50 per cent.
On the other hand, during the last twenty years
agricultural experts have been issuing figures (without
producing any effect on the public mind) which suggest
that we could produce, if it were considered desirable to
do so in the national interest, 75 per cent., 3 80 per cent., 4
1 See The Economist, ipth and 26th July 1930.
2 Lord IHffej C.B.E newspaper proprietor, Past President of the
Association of British Chambers of Commerce.
8 See The Report of the Policy Committee of the Central Chamber of
4 See The Report of Lord Selborne's Sub-Committee issued by the
Ministry of Reconstruction. Cd. 9079. 1918.
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 37
and 90 per cent. 1 of our current requirements. Even
these figures may to-day be treated as underestimates, for
in the last ten years scientific knowledge and mechanical
devices ^have made such strides that there can be little
reason to doubt that we could feed ourselves, though not
with exactly the same food as we consume to-day: our
people might have to eat less wheat bread, beef and
mutton, and rely instead on other cereals, such as oats and
rye, and the use of potato flour, on an increased output of
pork and bacon, and also, with advantage to health, on a
larger consumption of milk, butter and cheese, fowls
and eggs, fruit and vegetables, and fish such as
We have now to consider how far development could
go to our national advantage, without an undue rise of
The actual cost of food production in this country is
low; the relatively high price of home-grown food arises
from the cost of distribution and of processing 2 i.e. the
converting of food products into food which appear to
absorb on an average about 60 per cent, of the retail price.
If internal distribution were organised throughout this cost
could be reduced to perhaps 40 per cent, of the retail price
on an average; wholesale prices could then be raised to a
1 See Food, by Sir Charles Fielding, K.B.E., Director General of
Food Production during the War, and other writings by the same
author. Agriculture after the War> by Sir Daniel Hall, and Land,
Now and To-morrow> by Professor Stapledon, may also be consulted.
2 The converting of agricultural products into food or other
articles has come to be called "processing," a somewhat unsatisfactory
title that we retain for want of a better.
38 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
figure which would not only make production on a greatly
increased scale profitable, but would be ample to provide
a high standard of wages to labourers. 1 It is also im-
portant to realise that if food which we are qualified to
produce at home is imported, we have not only to pay the
price, but are also involved in the direct and indirect
losses that arise from keeping land, capital and indi-
viduals unemployed in this country.
Moreover, much of the agricultural produce, of the
character that we could provide ourselves, which comes
into this country is not paid for by manufactured goods,
as has often been alleged; it is purchased by the drafts
which come from the dominions, the Argentine and
elsewhere, to pay the interest and dividends on our
investments in those countries. In these cases, no
employment is given to our industrialists in manufacturing
goods to be sent in exchange. 2 On the other hand, if the
food were produced at home it should not be beyond the
wit of man to secure that its production is reflected in a
good demand for the output of the towns. Indeed it is
an important element of success in rural revival that the
increased wealth of our rural population should be
expended in this country.
All these facts should be borne in mind in considering
the claim put forward that "food is cheap because it
1 The Report of the Rural Reconstruction Committee referred to
above suggested that a policy of rural revival should be based on a
wage of about is. an hour, or 505. a week.
2 It should, however, be noted that if the interest and dividends
distributed in this country are spent at home, they may result in
employment and increase of national wealth.
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 39
comes from abroad." And in this relation it should
not* be overlooked that the present low wholesale price
of imported food arises largely from the fact that much
of the food imported to-day is sold below the cost of
production; this is a purely artificial condition that can
hardly continue indefinitely, and may indeed be followed
in a few years by other countries discontinuing production
for our markets. 1 As a result, if we have not by that
time increased our own production, we may be faced
with high prices for imported food.
It should further be recognised that the soil of this
country is generally good, and where not suitable can
be improved; whilst a comprehensive system of irrigation
and drainage would solve many difficulties. It is
customary to grumble at the weather, but it must be
realised that our moist and temperate climate gives us
great advantages over most other countries. Catastrophes,
such as long continued droughts, long and hard frosts
of the character which occur in other countries, are
unknown in Britain; neither do we have dust storms
such as occur elsewhere, which may in some cases blow
away the fertile soil and in other cases destroy crops over
large areas; the water shortages that sometimes arise
require a system of irrigation, the occasional floods need
an efficient drainage system, whilst the difficulties of wet
weather at the time of hay and corn harvests from which
we sometimes suffer can now be dealt with by appropriate
1 Such a situation will certainly arise should countries cease to base
their economic policy on exporting food to this country and devote
themselves to national development.
40 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
equipment that will convert grass into hay and dry and
thresh grain crops in almost any weather. Moreover,
whilst there are many things such as maize, rice, tea,
coffee, and fruits that we shall always wish to import,
the variations of climate and soil make it possible to
produce all or almost all the various forms of food that
are suited to a temperate climate.
Further, as to the calibre of our agriculturists. It has
been customary in the past to depreciate the British
farmer; it was indeed at one time part of the case against
the revival of agriculture. But to-day there is no possible
excuse for this attitude. There are still a number of
inefficient cultivators, but undoubtedly our leading
farmers are men of exceptional energy and ability and
have for generations been leaders in the agriculture of
the world. Moreover the rank and file have an energy
and an adaptability to circumstances, which is shown
in their rapid changes from one branch of cultivation
to another, a feature almost unknown in other parts
of the world. There are also large numbers of agri-
culturists, recent immigrants to the towns, who would
be willing to return to the countryside if conditions were
made attractive; whilst recent developments in the use
of allotments amongst unemployed miners and other
workers show, as has been already pointed out, that there
is still great inherent capacity for land cultivation amongst
our industrial population. Although much remains to
be done, we have established in this country invaluable
arrangements for scientific research and the spread of
knowledge of cultivation, of which our more enterprising
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 4!
farmers take every advantage. 1 We have also admirable
breeding stock and seed supplies. Finally, the cultivable
area of Britain is sufficient for our purpose.
We may therefore conclude that this country is
peculiarly suited to produce at moderate prices the
greater part and probably the whole of its essential food
requirements. 2 How then exactly are we to develop
production ? "There are three ways/' said Sir John
Russell, 3 "of increasing the food supply of this country:
(i) By increasing the area under cultivation; (2) by
increasing the production of individual crops and output
per acre; and (3) by combining crops into better and
more productive systems." We have to use all these
ways of increasing production.
To sum up : we suggest that, if distribution and the
converting of food products into food were organised
effectively, we could at least double our output without
either increasing the cost of production 4 or raising retail
prices; we could increase concurrently our agricultural
population, with advantage to the nation, from the present
figure of about 7 per cent., so that with the closely related
industries it might absorb 14, and perhaps, ultimately
20 per cent, of our population.
1 It would, however, greatly assist the revival of agriculture if the
results of research were more rapidly spread by increase in the number
of model farms and allotments so that they might extend to every
parish or rural district. Cultivators could then follow by observation
what is being done in research and so rapidly assimilate the results.
2 See Appendix, note 5.
3 Sir John Russell, D.Sc., F.R.S., Director of the Rothamsted
4 See Appendix, note 6.
42 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
And here it may be noted that such revival will have
far-reaching effects. On the one hand it should give
employment to many industries that provide the require-
ments of agriculturists, such as manufacturers of fertilisers
and feeding stuffs, and also the makers of tools, machinery
and other equipment. It would also give work to builders,
blacksmiths and other local craftsmen, and to the firms
and individuals who undertake transportation. The
converting of the food and other products into the article
finished for consumption means increased employment
in bacon factories, mills, tanneries and so forth. Pros-
perity for agriculture also creates a demand for everything
that a community with money to spend may need. It is
quite possible that by the development of agriculture
we shall give as much additional employment in other
occupations as will be provided on the land.
We have also to consider the problem of our food
supplies in case of war. It was difficult enough to secure
such supplies in the last war; it will be far more difficult
if another war were to break out, when the ships bringing
these supplies would be exposed to a devastating attack
from both aeroplanes and submarines. There is a real
danger of defeat in war through the cutting off of food
supplies. "It is useless," said Dr Cloudesley Brereton, 1
addressing in 1935 a meeting of the Rural Reconstruction
Association, "to be armed to the teeth if our molars have
nothing to chew." Even if we are not yet prepared for a
comprehensive policy of agricultural development, the
1 Dr Cloudesley Brereton, M.A. Cantab.; L. es L. Paris; D. fcs
L. Lille; Member of Council, Rural Reconstruction Association.
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 43
least we can do is to erect national granaries for the
storage of wheat: we ought to have at least six months'
wheat in hand and also at once to develop our agriculture
and plan it in such a way that the output can be rapidly
increased in case of war.
Something more can here be said on the relation of
agriculture to the problem of unemployment, 1 though it
would not, of course, be possible to deal with the whole
problem from the realistic standpoint taken in this book
and indicate a solution. Since unemployment came first
from the countryside, one might naturally look to the
country to provide a cure; nevertheless no claim is made
that the revival of agriculture will provide such a cure.
It is, however, suggested that this problem of unemploy-
ment cannot be dealt with effectively without a large-scale
development of agriculture, which should, as has already
been said, at least double both production and the number
of workers engaged on the land and in closely related
industries. Indeed, if agriculturists are given security in
their markets and prices, and supported by funds for
development, it is not unreasonable to ask that they should
give support to an agricultural policy which will absorb
the unemployed into agriculture by Land Settlement
and increased employment as farmers and labourers.
1 No comprehensive figures on unemployment are available.
Such as are provided go to show that the number of workers of all
classes not in constant employment during the year 1935 was between
7,000,000 and 8,000,000. The daily average of individuals of all
classes unemployed in that year was probably about 2,500,000, of
whom about 2,000,000 drew Unemployment Benefit. Possibly half
of that 2,500,000 rightly belong to and should be absorbed into
agriculture and closely related industries. See Appendix, note 4.
44 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Responsibility for accepting this condition of national
support and the carrying out of this policy should, it is
suggested, be vested in the Agricultural Federation
suggested below. It is fortunate that, if a policy of
revival of agriculture is adopted by the nation, there will
be for many years plenty of work to be done in reclamation
of land, in erecting buildings, in providing preliminary
equipment and so forth.
There has been much discussion in recent years on the
value of Land Settlement on smallholdings, and also of
allotments, for the unemployed. Something has been
done in providing settlements and much in providing
allotments. Whilst we are naturally sympathetic to every
proposal for settling the unemployed on the land, it has
to be recognised that large-scale Land Settlement can be
carried on only if there is a comprehensive scheme for
providing a home market for the surplus output of the
settlers. Until this is secured caution is desirable.
Urban allotments, 1 on the other hand, should continue
to be provided wherever possible : they give the cultivator
a healthy occupation and a supply of fresh and wholesome
food. They also serve to train him in the cultivation of
the land, thus providing him with a knowledge that will
be invaluable if a comprehensive scheme for agricultural
revival is adopted.
Before proceeding further it is well to realise the
nature of the interests that might be adversely affected
by the revival of agriculture. First there are the firms
1 It may be here noted that in the countryside it is large gardens
that are needed rather than allotments.
THE CASE FOR RURAL REVIVAL 45
engaged in producing and dealing with goods for export,
who are naturally suspicious of any increase of home
production which may involve the reduction of the
imports of food through which they expect payment for
their exports: they have to be convinced not only that
this export trade is bound sooner or later to dwindle,
but that revival of agriculture will create a substituted
and far more secure market. Next there are the shipping
interests concerned in bringing food from other countries.
The reduction of overseas trade and the extension of the
shipping industries, often subsidised, in other countries
has damaged the British industry to an extent that is
little realised by the nation. Reorganisation of the
industry so that it may accord with modern requirements
is urgently needed, and when that reorganisation takes
place it is to be hoped that the need in the national
interests for reducing food imports will receive due
consideration. 1 Finally come the financial interests,
British and foreign, concerned in food production in
other countries, and especially in collecting the interest
and dividends on their investments abroad by the
importation and sale in this country of agricultural
produce that we might, to the nation's advantage, provide
at home. It is thought that such produce to the value of
about 120,000,000 a year is imported for this purpose. 2
Moreover, at the present time, our dominions and
certain foreign countries appear to think that they
have a prescriptive right to dump surplus food products
on the British market.
1 See Appendix, note 7. 2 See Appendix, note 8.
46 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
The position of these varied interests, powerful both
in the political and financial worlds, is strengthened by
many trade agreements with the dominions and
foreign countries which directly or indirectly involve
^the importation of food into this country. It is clear,
that so long as our national policy is based on securing
the larger part of our food products from abroad, we
can hardly expect to develop home production and
employment in agriculture on a large scale.
Nevertheless we have to face the situation. Our view
is that in laying down national policy the well-being of
our own people should come first, and that to secure
this the British farmer should have the first claim on
the home market, within the limits of a fair price : im-
ports, especially those that come for purely financial
reasons, should be limited so far as possible to raw
materials and to such food and goods of other categories
as we are not suited to produce ourselves. And here
it should be realised that if we pursue a national policy
on the lines indicated in this book, with a view to
enrich the nation, we may expect an increase in purchases
from abroad of articles that we cannot produce at home,
whilst an enriched nation would have some increased
funds available for world travel. Thus the shipping and
overseas trading interests would benefit.
A NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL POLICY
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
WE have so far discussed the case for rural and agri-
cultural revival as an essential part of a general policy of
national reconstruction; we have now to deal with the
specific action that is recommended first to secure this
revival, and thereafter to maintain agriculture on a
permanent foundation, unaffected by trade depressions
and economic crises. But before going further it may
be useful to say something on the way in which the
problem should be approached.
It is well to realise that our specific problem is not
only unique in the world of to-day, but has never arisen
in its exact form in any other civilisation. 1 It should
therefore be submitted, in common with all other funda-
mental social and economic problems, to a comprehensive
investigation by the best brains of the country, who
should be concerned to ascertain the material facts,
and to suggest solutions. This method of approach
has been employed in dealing with many important
political questions, as for example in the last century
when forms of local government were fully considered
before County and Rural District Councils were created.
1 Our problem has, however, something in common with the
conditions that arose in Imperial Rome and in other empires of the
past. See Paterson's Nemesis of Nations.
50 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
It is as important to create a constitution for agriculture
as it was for the counties. Investigations, in the past,
have been entrusted to special Commissioners or Depart-
mental Committees and a special technique and method of
inquiry has been built up : these methods, it is suggested,
are not suited to the study of social and economic
problems, which may have to be approached in a some-
what different way.
Pending such inquiry we can proceed to consider the
action to be taken to secure a revival, in the light of such
investigations as have been already made : on this a general
comment may be made.
For nearly a century home consumption has been
regarded as an open market in which home and foreign
producers could scramble, and everything has been left
to haphazard enterprise. The view here put forward is
that home production, foreign imports and distribution
should be planned to meet the actual needs of the com-
munity, and that the country should be regarded as an
economic unit, with needs and assets balanced against one
another. Uncontrolled competition with its wastefulness
and harmful effects on character should give place to
co-operation. With this in mind we may now turn to a
more detailed consideration of the problem.
Since Free Trade leaves prices and the balance between
supply and demand to chance, it must fail in the future
as it has in the past to maintain prices or keep the balance
steady. The alternative of Protection in the form of import
duties is still supported by some politicians, but whatever
its value in other directions, import duties give no security
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 5!
in prices to the producer a basic necessity and may
result in unduly high prices to the consumer. Moreover
the effect of such duties may at any time be undermined
by the alteration of the relative money values in the two
trading countries, by the introduction of exporting sub-
sidies, or by other steps taken by an exporting country or
its traders anxious to send their surplus products to this
country, even at prices that fall far below the home price
and even below the cost of production. 1
We can therefore rule out Free Trade and Protection by
import duties, and proceed to consider what other steps
can be taken to secure success. We are forced to turn to
what has come to be called planning. Now planning,
though commended by many distinguished authorities, is
somewhat suspect. This is not surprising for, in recent
years, planning has tended to become something of an
intellectual amusement; many brilliant thinkers all over
the world have been making and promulgating "plans of
recovery. 5 ' Sometimes governments accept these plans
and make experiments on the body corporate : the results
are rarely successful and often lead to new disasters.
Before accepting planning as a principle we shall then be
well advised to consider why so many plans fail and what
we must do to devise plans that will lead to success. It
is suggested that the want of success of so many of these
plans arises from a series of causes. One observes a want
1 For example, French milled flour has been sold in this country
at 95. 6d. per sack of 280 Ibs., whilst the price in France was at or over
56s.; Italian flour at ys. 3d., whilst the price in Italy was about 553.
See a Report issued by the National Association of British and Irish
Millers in 1935.
52 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
of exhaustive preliminary inquiry, haste in preparation,
and failure to found the plans on those basic principles
that govern the social and economic life of civilisations.
Then there is the want of a clearly defined objective.
Moreover when plans based on correct information,
sound in principle, and with a clear objective have been
prepared, they are liable to break down in application if no
appropriate organisation has been thought out and built
up. The plans put forward in this book have this much
in their favour: they have been prepared at leisure and
with exhaustive examination of the facts, the underlying
principles have been thought out, the objective has been
analysed, and the appropriate form of organisation has
Something more may be said on the objects of these
^proposals, for a clear objective is fundamental to success,
without it sound planning is almost impossible : with it
we can test every detail of our proposals in relation to our
objects and modify the plans when necessary.
Our objective may be stated from various points of
From the outlook of the nation as a whole we aim for
agriculture, as indeed for all branches of economic life,
not only at an increase of our national wealth, 1 but also
at a more equitable distribution of this wealth and of the
twin assets of work and leisure. We believe that one of
the necessary means to those ends is the absorption of as
1 " Wealth/' it will be remembered, has been classified above under
seven categories: houses, food, clothing, lighting and heating,
health, knowledge, and happiness.
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 53
large a proportion of our population as is reasonably
possible into agriculture and thus, by providing a home
market for industry, to help to create a balanced
economic unit. We wish also ultimately to make every-
body so well off that they may be freed from constant
anxieties and have a surplus available for the pleasures of
life, and be able to contribute, without its being an
oppressive burden, a fair share of national and local
With this as our national objective, we may take next
our specific aims as they affect the productive workers.
We have to provide our farmers with a sufficient measure
of security in their markets to enable them steadily to
develop the production of food and the other output of
the land, such as wool, hides, skins and flowers. This
will not be attained unless the farmers' energies are
devoted to producing, year by year, the Actual com-
modities required for consumption; for if this is not
done there may be surpluses of one product wasted
whilst there may be shortages of another. One of our*
objects must therefore be to direct production to what]
is needed by the nation. The policy of quotas may here
be used. There is another point of importance relating
to the position of the farmers : we are constantly told
that farmers need further credit, and in a sense this is
true, for they certainly need further funds for carrying
on and developing production. But farmers cannot
go on borrowing indefinitely: their liabilities have to
be reduced to reasonable proportions. Moreover the
interests of the labourers must not be overlooked: indeed
54 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
not only farmers but all workers on the land should be
working under conditions that create material wealth and
also health and happiness. They should secure a
reasonable reward for their special intelligence and
enterprise, and become large-scale purchasers of the
products of industry.
In considering the position of farmers and labourers
we have also to realise the need to preserve and to develop
the producers' natural constructive instinct, for farming
must be carried out in a spirit of creativeness and
We have next to consider the position of the consumer.
"Producers" and "consumers" cannot be classed as
clearly defined sections of society with conflicting*
interests. Nevertheless there are different interests
which have to be reconciled; this means in practice
that we have to supply the food and other things
that agriculture creates at prices that are fair to the
Finally, there is a third class to be considered the
men and women, consumers of course, but primarily
engaged in distribution and processing. Their economic
life has also to be organised so that they have a fair
measure of security which will enable them to live in
comfort, health and happiness.
The policy outlined in this book is directed towards
the ultimate attainment of these objectives : if and where
it does not fit in with the objectives, it is not suggested
that we should modify the objectives: we have, on the
contrary, to adjust the details of the policy to our aims.
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 55
We can now outline our proposals, to be dealt with
hereafter in greater detail.
The main essential for success is, we suggest, to relieve
Parliament of its present concern in the details of
agricultural affairs and so to take the detailed problems
out of the political arena. Our central proposal is then
to place all that relates to the actual production of our
food supplies in the hands of those directly concerned
in agriculture: to create a National Federation of the
agricultural interests. We shall thus attain two important
results. Agriculturists will become definitely responsible
for the building up of their own industry, and a responsible
organisation will be created with which the nation can
deal in all matters relating to food production.
In close connection with this main organisation
concerned with production, we have to organise dis-
tribution and the conversion of food products into food.
Then, to exercise a central controlling influence over
production, distribution and processing, and con-
currently to protect the consumers' interests, we ought
to create a specific organisation, a National Food Council,
which will stand for national interests.
The other items in the policy are, in the main, economic.
And here it is well to make clear the guiding principle
that governs all our suggestions. Whatever the problem,
we endeavour to face it squarely and apply a direct
rather than an indirect remedy. For example in dealing
with the problem of prices we recommend the specific
fixing of prices rather than reliance on regulating supply
and demand or on import duties or quotas negotiated
56 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
through political channels. It is here that our proposals
differ from those generally advanced by politicians and
economists of the more orthodox schools.
We can now turn to our specific suggestions for dealing
with the problems that are mainly economic. In our
view we have :
(1) To get rid of the uncertainty of, and the consequent
gamble in, prices (the most conspicuous evil of agriculture
in modern times) by substituting, so far as possible, the
system of standard, for fluctuating, prices. This involves
the development of the grading of produce, a matter of
(2) To organise scientifically both distribution and
the conversion of food products into food, so that the
persons engaged in these processes may have security
in their work and there may be no waste.
(3) To regulate imports in such a way that the British
farmer secures the first claim on the home markets at a
fair price and that only the balance of our needs is secured
(4) To exercise where necessary some measure of
direct control over home production and provide for the
use of surpluses, in order to protect ourselves from gluts
and shortages and maintain as far as possible a balance
between supply and demand; and
(5) To deal with farmers' finance so that they may
have funds available for their work.
These five proposals interlock; none can work efficiently
without the others. Moreover, though we may have to
proceed by taking first one branch of agriculture and
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 57
then another, the steps should only be taken as part of a
comprehensive policy. We shall not attain complete
success until we have applied the polity to agriculture
as a whole; for when we safeguard one branch of
agriculture and leave others alone, our farmers, who
seem to be the most versatile in the world, naturally
turn to that particular branch of production that is
safeguarded and we find ourselves faced with surpluses
that we cannot absorb.
If it were possible to take first things first we should
start our plans with the organisation of a National
Federation of Agriculture and a National Food Council.
But as that proposal is only just emerging into practical
politics, and is not yet properly understood, govern-
ments are likely to continue their present work of dealing
with those particular urgent problems that are largely
economic. We are therefore considering these questions
first, beginning with the central economic need of
securing a guaranteed standard economic price as between
producer and consumer, which realistic economists have
from very early times considered the central requirement
of a sound economic life.
It is clear that a policy of agricultural revival involves
consideration of many questions such as land tenure
and finance not dealt with or only touched on in this
book. It is submitted that neither the general line of
argument nor the case for the policy as a whole depends
on the views taken on these subsidiary questions. Our
proposals are independent of them.
In any case these problems cannot be discussed here.
58 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Nevertheless something may be said on the question of
land tenure, the importance of dealing with which is
emphasised by many authorities on the subject. It
should be noted that almost all cultivators in Britain
hold land on one of three tenures : (i) as rent-paying
tenants of land controlled and generally owned, either
directly by the State or by local authorities representing
the State; (2) as rent-paying tenants of land privately
owned; (3) as occupying owners who as a rule hold
subject to mortgages. All these tenures have their
advantages and also their advocates. The policy here
put forward is obviously applicable whatever the tenure
under which the land is held by the cultivator.
Many landlords have made considerable sacrifices
in helping farmers to tide over the agricultural depres-
sions, and it would be right and proper if they benefited
to some extent in the revival. Nevertheless provision
may have to be made in any policy for the revival of
agriculture to secure that rents are not unduly raised if
prosperity returns to the cultivator; the main benefit
of the revival should go to producers and consumers.
IT will perhaps help our readers in their consideration
of standard prices if we explain that the Standard Price
System is an economic system under which prices are
fixed at a remunerative level by an independent authority
representing the producers, consumers and the nation,
and concerned to reconcile their interests. 1 The price
so fixed is called the Standard Price, or more fully the
Guaranteed Standard Economic Price.
The most striking evil from which agriculture has
suffered since the beginning of the last century has been
the constant fluctuation and uncertainty of prices. Until
the system of stabilising prices was reintroduced, first
for sugar beet in 1924 and then under the recent Agri-
cultural Marketing Acts, wholesale prices of almost
every commodity have varied continuously not only
year by year, but also every day and indeed every hour
and in every market. These variations have often been
very large (wheat in the nineteenth century varied between
about iys. 6d. and i6os. a quarter), but even small
variations have been sufficient to create a loss or a profit
to the farmer on a specific deal. Thus farming became
a gamble in prices. The evil is one that affects not only
the farmer : if prices are low they may destroy his profit
1 See Appendix, note 9.
60 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
and they may even fall below the cost of production,
and so react on wages ; but if high they rob the consumer.
In either case our economic life is dislocated. This is
the specific evil that we have to combat by returning to
the standard price system.
For the last half century there has been a widespread
movement for the introduction of fixed prices. During
the Great War price fixing was widely adopted : in part
as an outcome of the special circumstances of the time.
Nevertheless the practice of fixing prices did not end
with the War either in this or other countries but has
been continued and developed ever since. Everyone
is familiar with it, for it has become a commonplace in
the retail shops, where cigarettes, patent medicines,
books, breakfast cereals and scores of other articles are
sold at standard prices. Shopkeepers are accustomed
to sell at fixed prices and on an agreed commission,
especially in the case of proprietary articles, and the
public is accustomed to buy goods at prices fixed by
manufacturers or other authorities over whom they have
In agriculture itself prices have been fixed year by year
for sugar beet since 1924, and under the provisions of the
Agricultural Marketing Acts the standard price system
was adopted for hops, and a basic price of 9 a hundred-
weight was fixed in 1934 for five years. Under the same
Acts prices are fixed for short periods for bacon and milk
and under the Wheat Act of 1932 a price is fixed for
home-grown wheat. But in these three cases the prices
have constantly been re-adjusted. Such re-adjustment
STANDARD PRICES 6l
is no doubt necessary during an experimental period. 1
Price fixing is one of the most widespread of the new
features of economic life.
Prices all over the world have been, and are being,
regulated by governments or marketing boards and
committees instituted by governments, by co-operators,
by producers or by trusts, federations, or special com-
mittees representing producers or importers, and also by
agreement amongst members of a trade operating maybe
only in a town or district. In rare cases they may be
settled by purchasers. 2 There are indeed many methods
of regulation, almost all of which are experimental and
incomplete. In perhaps the greater number of cases the
prices have been fixed primarily by, or in the interest of,
producers ; not as they should be, and were in the past,
with the object of securing a fair price between producer
and consumer. Moreover, in relatively few cases have
the fixed prices the quality of permanency. A govern-
ment may change its policy and withdraw its guarantee.
A marketing board 3 may fail to work effectively; whilst
1 In dealing with milk and bacon, difficulties in fixing prices at an
economic level arose from the fact that there were, in addition to the
producers and consumers, three other interests to be considered, and
as far as possible reconciled : the importers, the distributors, and the
processors: that is, there were five conflicting interests in all to be
dealt with. It will be necessary to control by appropriate action the
interests of the distributors, processors and importers, as it is proposed
by our schemes; the fixing of prices as between producers and
consumers will then become a fairly simple matter.
2 In East Anglia prices have been fixed for mustard seed by the
purchasing firms for many years.
3 Marketing boards are the authorities constituted under the
Agricultural Marketing Acts. See Appendix, note I.
62 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
any of the other forms of organisation may fail to function
under the stress of home or foreign competition or a
change of money values. There may then be a return to
the fluctuating price system with all its evils. If prices
fall producers will be impoverished and even ruined : in
any case chaos will be created. Such incidents have been
the commonplace of the economic life of the world since
Unsuccessful experiments should not prejudice us
against the principle of price fixing: they teach us how
not to do it, so that we may learn how it should be done.
Whatever the result of the experiments, it is becoming
increasingly clear that if we are to reconstruct our national
economic life on a secure basis, we must somehow
maintain food prices at an economic level. 1 Though
this is admitted by leading authorities of various schools
of thought, many advocates of stabilising prices continue
to suggest that prices should be regulated by indirect
methods: by control through financial arrangements,
by regulating supply and demand through quotas, control
of production and otherwise, or by tariffs. Control
through finance, regulation of supply and demand 2 and
even tariffs, may have definite value, but they do not
secure certainty of prices for the producer, though when
1 Price fixing is also advocated as a means of keeping the internal
value of money stable by the introduction of what is sometimes called
"a commodity standard." The point, though important, cannot be
2 The Marketing Board dealing with potatoes has attempted to
maintain a fair level of prices by regulation of supply with only partial
STANDARD PRICES 63
prices are fixed they may help to secure their maintenance.
The present proposal is to fix, so far as possible, wholesale
prices in agriculture by direct action and then to buttress
up the system so created by regulating supply and
demand, and if need be by the use of tariffs and financial
adjustments. Ours is a policy of direct action,
In the particular case of British agriculture, especially
favourable conditions for a policy of price fixing are
present. We have producers, consumers, distributors
and processors within our own boundaries, whilst, so far
as we depend on imports, they can be regulated efficiently
by the right methods. We have also our own finance
system and can adapt it to support a constructive policy
based on standard prices. The solution of the problem,
so far as it is economic, is in our own hands. If, therefore,
we can secure the support of producers, distributors,
processors and consumers to create the necessary organisa-
tion there is no reason why we should not, in their common
interest and in the interests of the nation, fix and maintain
fair prices for our main agricultural products.
The first practical step is to deal comprehensively with
the problem of wholesale agricultural prices, on which
much has already been done in this country. We are not
here advocating the stimulation of home production by
artificially high prices, for unduly high prices are as
disastrous to our economic life as the present low level of
wholesale prices; our proposal is to fix, and maintain at
an economic level so far as is practically possible, the
wholesale prices paid to farmers and market gardeners for
their main articles of produce. The prices may have to
64 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
be changed from time to time; for example, in the case of
milk * and eggs the prices may have to be varied in
accordance with the time of year. The country may
also have to be divided into areas, the price being uniform
within each area, though not necessarily identical in all
areas. Local variations may be needed to meet special
local conditions; but it is hoped that this procedure may
be only temporary, for uniform national price lists should
be our ultimate aim. In the case of corn crops, at any
rate, the price should be fixed for a term of years and
should be subject to at least four years' notice; in the case
of other articles of produce price lists might be recon-
sidered every two or three years, until experience has
shown what are fair figures : but alterations should not be
made without ample notice. To secure continuity in our
agricultural development, we want to eliminate variations
so far as possible, so that cultivators may have a certain
price to which they can work.
The fixing of wholesale prices at a fair level must be our
immediate object: but subsequently we may find it both
possible and desirable to regulate retail prices. This
would greatly benefit the housekeepers of the towns, and
indeed all housekeepers. Moreover a steady retail price
helps to steady the demand, a matter which, as will be
seen later, is of great importance. 2 It may also be found
1 Milk pool prices under the present marketing schemes, so
changed from time to time, are different in different areas. In the
case of bacon pigs and sugar beet the prices, varied from time to
time, are uniform throughout the country. In the case of hops
the price is fixed for a term of years.
2 The variation of demand following the changes in retail prices
STANDARD PRICES 65
desirable to introduce a system already common in this
country, especially in relation to proprietary articles,
whereby retailers sell on an agreed commission.
The standard price lists should give the figure for the
best quality article and other leading grades. In the case
of corn the experience gathered in dealing with wheat
suggests that there are few, if any, practical difficulties; in
other cases, such as fat stock, where character and quality
in any particular market may vary considerably, the actual
price paid, though based on a standard price list, could be
settled by responsible market officials. Farmers, dealers
and auctioneers who are familiar with market conditions
suggest that the practical difficulties are not nearly as great
as theorists suggest. A similar estimate of quality has to
be made roughly by buyers of produce in the markets
every day of their lives : what is needed is that it should
be done systematically. Nevertheless there will be
branches of agriculture in which it may be found difficult
and perhaps impossible to fix prices. In the case of
perishable fruit and vegetables, for example, where prices
may be difficult to adjust, we may have to confine our-
selves to regulating, if need be day by day, the extent
of supply in the various markets. Concentrating on our
main object, the securing of a fair level of prices, we have
to adapt our system to the special conditions that govern
the various products.
It is suggested that the preparation of price lists
should be in the hands of a special authority or group of
was one of the special difficulties that arose in the organisation of the
66 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
authorities in which producers, consumers and the
nation should be represented. The National Food
Council referred to below is suggested for this purpose.
The authority will have to approach the problem in a
scientific spirit: putting aside all the theories advanced
in the past by orthodox economists as to the value of what
is called the "world price/' it will have to consider care-
fully the effect of any particular price or scale of prices on
our national life : it will have to find the figures that give
the best economic advantage to the nation.
The settlement of these price problems seems extra-
ordinarily difficult if viewed as a theoretical problem, but
most of these difficulties disappear when the subject is
attacked as a practical problem by practical men who are
well able to estimate results and suggest appropriate
scales of prices. Moreover their settlement will become
far easier if we are to have a parallel national policy
directed to bringing prosperity to our industrialists and
so develop the purchasing power of the towns : * we
cannot, however, wait till this is secured; the development
of agriculture must be our first step.
The problem of prices has then to be considered
scientifically by the price-fixing authority in its relation
to its effect on (i) the producers, (ii) the consumers arid
(iii) the nation as a whole. These three aspects of the
problem will be taken in that order.
From the producers' point of view the price-fixing
authority should consider the need of sustaining the
1 See Britain's Trade and Agriculture, by Montague Fordham,
STANDARD PRICES 67
industry in a high state of efficiency and providing a
good living for the farmers and labourers who are engaged
in it. Labourers have to be well paid, and it may be
noted that the standard price system interlocks with
the existing system of a legal minimum wage : the price
of the product and the rate of wages should be considered
concurrently. Taken together, these arrangements will
go far to reconcile the conflicting interests of farmer and
labourer. It will also be necessary to fix prices at a
level which will enable farmers to pay rent, tithe and
interest on mortgage or other loans (if they be burdened
with these charges), to reduce progressively the debts
that oppress them to-day, and make possible a rapid
development of the industry, which will secure an
increase in the national wealth and the absorption of
many of the unemployed. It is constantly pointed out
that farmers need increased credit. Standard prices give
security for such credit.
Next the price-fixing authority has to take into account
the interests of the consumers, for it is obvious that the
general level of retail prices should not be raised. Retail
prices should be as low as is compatible with the rights
of the producer, and this aspect of the problem has to
be considered in relation to the* organisation of dis-
tribution, for it is with the help of savings effected by
such organisation that fair prices can be secured to the
farmer concurrently with a reasonable level of retail
The third aspect of the price problem, its relation to
the life of the nation as a whole^ is often overlooked.
68 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Here our price-fixing authority may well give considera-
tion to the following matters, all of which depend in
part on price-levels. We have first to arrange that
farmers and labourers are sufficiently well off to be
liberal purchasers of the products of industry. Further
the authority should consider how we can secure, in
developing agriculture, that it will absorb some part of
the unemployed a matter of great economic importance,
since by the absorption of the unemployed we can hope
to effect large savings in our national expenditure. We
have also to fix our prices at a level which will encourage
production up to but not beyond the level of effective
demand, a matter of great importance if we are to maintain
a balance between supply and demand. Then we have
to consider how far it is wise to go in our national interest
in growing specific products at home. Wheat prices,
for example, would be fixed at a higher level than the
present if it were decided that it was to our advantage,
as it may be, to grow, say, one-half of our own wheat
supplies. The problem of sugar beet also may be
considered from this viewpoint.
All these problems interlock and require careful
consideration if we are going to introduce an efficient
system of price-fixing on which to base our economic
life. We shall have to make experiments, and we cannot
expect at once, if ever, to create a theoretically perfect
system; for standard prices, though free from the
disastrous effects of fluctuating prices, will be subject
to the imperfections that beset all human endeavour.
We shall have to be satisfied with the best arrangements
STANDARD PRICES 69
that we can make at once to relieve the farmer from the
perpetual anxiety and the intermittent financial disasters
that come from the variation of prices, and thereafter to
improve and perfect the working of our schemes. Even
when this is done, the farmer will still have to bear all
the risks that arise from the uncertainty of the weather
and the diseases of crops and animals, but he will be
released from his main difficulty the uncertainty of
prices; so relieved, he will be able to put all his energies
into his true function the creation of the nation's food
confident that, whilst low quality of his produce and
inefficient grading will react on his prices, nevertheless
industry and efficiency will secure a just reward. He
will no longer have to spend his time bargaining about
prices, with all the waste of time and money and degrada-
tion of character involved. Grading of his produce and
good packing will be definitely encouraged, since well
graded and packed produce will fetch a better price.
The accounting side of his business will also be greatly
simplified. He will also be keen to get the advice and
help of the scientist and all the knowledge he can obtain
to make his land as productive as possible. His con-
trolling motive will be to produce and market his
produce in the best possible way. Two interests often
conflicting under the present system will be reconciled:
he will be producing for use as well as for profit. At the
Isame time, since there will be no competition in prices
between farmers, many may be willing to give assistance
to others. Indeed standard prices will have the indirect
result of breaking down the barriers between farmers
70 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
created by internal competition in prices, and this will
encourage collaboration and pave the way to the formation
of the National Federation of Agriculture referred to
In the initial period of the introduction of standard
prices,, before distribution has been organised, subsidies
may be needed; but State subsidies should not be a
permanent feature, and indeed are necessary only in
a period of turnover from one economic system to
another. They should be looked upon as the cost of
reconstruction l and, if given, should be arranged so
that they are accompanied by an increase of employ-
ment and so counterbalancing by national savings on
Before leaving this branch of the subject, it may be
noted that definite support for standard prices has been
received from many leading agriculturists in this country
and also from various agricultural associations. For
example, the National Farmers' Union in December
1935 issued a statement affirming that the best method
of dealing with the live stock industry is "to agree on a
Standard price for cattle, sheep and pigs of good quality
intended for the meat market." The Council of the
Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture has
gone further, for on the loth December 1934 it passed
on the motion of the Lord O'Hagan, 2 seconded by Sir
1 See Appendix, note 10.
2 Lord O'Hagan, past President of the Chamber of Agriculture,
past President of the British Dairy Farmers Association, Member of
Council of the Central Landowners Association, and President of
the Rural Reconstruction Association.
STANDARD PRICES JI
Patrick Hannon, M.P., 1 the following resolution: "That
this meeting of the Council of the Central and Associated
Chambers of Agriculture urges the Government to make
the central object of its agricultural policy the securing
to the British farmer a first claim on the home markets
at a Standard Economic Price for the main articles of
produce; and that all quotas, tariffs, control of imports,
organisation of distribution and other action, if any,
should be framed to secure that objective."
The support for these proposals is not confined to this
country. It is a world-wide movement. We find for
example that, early in 1936, the Government of New
Zealand had decided to introduce the standard price
system wherever possible, and were beginning with
fixing the prices of wheat, flour and bread. 2
1 Sir Patrick Harmon has been Chief Organiser of the Irish
Agricultural Organisation Society, Director of Agricultural Organisa-
tion to the Government of Cape Colony, and is a Past President of
the Central Chamber of Agriculture. Amongst many other offices
he holds, at the time of writing, the Presidency of the National Union
of Manufacturers, and is Vice-President of the Federation of British
2 See The Times, loth February and 29th April 1936.
ORGANISATION OF DISTRIBUTION AND
THE national economic policy, adopted early in the last
century, under which all restrictions on trading in food
within our national boundaries, and all regulation of
prices, were swept away, established the position of the
The intermediaries whilst carrying on an important
national service, did in fact pursue a policy of forcing
down prices against the producer and raising prices
against the consumer. It soon appeared that dealing in
food was likely to be more profitable than its production :
an excessive number of individuals then rushed into the
business of distribution, and whilst the more able were
very successful and so created prejudice against "dealers,"
competition amongst the distributors themselves caused
impoverishment of a number of the less competent.
Confusion was created. The outcome of the adoption
of this system is seen to-day in the fluctuation of prices,
and in the costly and often chaotic character of distribu-
tion, reflected in a wide gap between producers' and
consumers 5 prices.
The trade of the middleman, from its nature, attracts
men with a talent for bargaining; a supply of ready money
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 73
(with which they can incidentally make short loans to
farmers who are short of cash) is a necessary part of their
equipment and it is their business to have a wide know-
ledge of markets and prices. They are inevitably at an
advantage in dealing with the majority of farmers, who
are rarely commercially minded, seldom have reserves of
cash, have only a local knowledge of prices and markets,
and have little opportunity of studying the important
question of the probable trend of prices. Indeed, if we
except the larger farmers with special business capacity,
there can be little doubt that almost all cultivators sell at
a great personal disadvantage, and hardly ever secure in
their sales even the full market price of the time.
The expectation that low prices to the producer would
be reflected in cheap food is rarely fulfilled, for though it
sometimes occurs, it is defeated in most cases by the heavy
costs of distribution. A detailed study of the methods
employed in the sale of corn, stock, hay, fruit, vegetables
and flowers, and indeed many other articles, will serve to
illustrate this point. But it is not necessary to enlarge on
it : the facts are well known and have been dealt with in
detail by many authorities. 1 Whilst exhaustive examina-
tion of the present methods of marketing agricultural
produce has been carried out by the Ministry of Agri-
1 See in particular Food, by Sir Charles Fielding, The Rebuilding
of Rural England, by Montague Fordham, and The Bread of Britain,
by A. H. Hurst.
The Reports of the Departmental Committee on Distribution
and Prices, presided over by Lord Linlithgow and issued by the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in 1924, may also be consulted
74 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
culture and published in their Orange Books> no full and
authoritative investigation of the costs of the present
distributive system has been made; existing inquiries
suggest, however, that the productive workers, i.e. the
farmers and labourers, secure for their services and for
such charges as rents, rates and taxes, tithes and interest
on capital, only about 40 per cent, of the retail price;
whilst if we eliminate these specific charges, they would
probably be found to receive about one-third of the
retail price for their productive services.
Mr Ramsay MacDonald x in a special interview, so
long ago as 1926, explained to the Press the agricultural
policy he was then advocating when leader of the Labour
Party; he was discussing the evil of the existing method
of distribution, on which he made some illuminating
remarks. "He understood," the Press report ran, "that
distribution absorbed from 50 per cent, to 70 per cent, of
the retail price : the farmer, therefore, rarely got half, and
constantly much less of the price paid in the shops. This
was far too small a share. The cost of distribution might
well, he was advised, be reduced if we had a sound
business system of distribution to, on the average,
somewhere about one-third of the retail price." Mr
Ramsay MacDonald was perhaps over sanguine; never-
theless it is suggested that with scientific organisation of
distribution and standard prices the producers' share
might be raised from about 40 per cent, to something
between 50 and 60 per cent, of the retail price.
1 The Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald, P.C Prime Minister of
Britain, 1924 and 1929-35.
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 75
Mr MacDonald also attacked the problem from another
side, the importance of which cannot be over-stated:
"We have to look," he said, "to the savings in distribution
to provide a fund for building up agriculture and rural
life"; and again he said: "The waste in distribution is
a reservoir to be drawn upon for the benefit of both
producer and consumer."
This problem has for many years been confused by an
attack on the so-called middlemen. The intermediaries,
the instruments of a system, perform, within that system,
an important national service: they are carrying on a
legitimate business on lines specially authorised by Acts
of Parliament : they are in a very large number of cases
men of special intelligence and capacity, engaged in
making a living by a difficult business at a difficult time.
Even if they deserved to be attacked it would be futile to
do so, for we have to secure their help in the rationalising
of distribution : this should not be impossible, as the more
intelligent intermediaries of all classes are well aware of
and, if they have public spirit, are profoundly dissatisfied
with the present position. It will be more easy to obtain
their help if a comprehensive agricultural policy is
adopted: for it may be we shall then double our home
production. Although there might be as a result some
reduction in the number concerned in the trades in
imported food, there would be little reason to reduce the
number of distributors in the home trade; their turn-over
would be increased, and so the cost per unit of distribution
reduced, but not necessarily their actual profit.
This is a problem which has been discussed for very
76 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
many years : and on it there is a general agreement of the
nature of the evil. But no action has been taken. It has
been before the House of Commons on various occasions,
and in February 1936 1 the following important resolution
was adopted without a division : " That in the opinion of
this House it is essential to the prosperity of British
Agriculture and to the health of the community that the
supply and distribution of agricultural produce be
organised so as to encourage an increased consumption
of home-grown produce and the employment of additional
labour on the land and to eliminate the waste and loss
which result from the present chaotic and costly methods
of distribution." For many years governments, though
recognising the evil, have feared to face the strong vested
interests built up since the beginning of the last century
and concerned in distribution to-day. But it should be
faced in the spirit that is shown by business men in
building up great commercial enterprises.
We do not then suggest that a complete and comprehen-
sive plan for distribution can be prepared by individuals.
We are concerned with the more modest work of throwing
light on the problem and indicating lines of practical action
based on the investigations already made on the subject.
Socialists are to be commended for facing the problem;
they have proposed that distribution should be put into
the hands of a special Government department somewhat
of the nature of the Post Office, a form of procedure which
appears to have been introduced recently into Germany.
Such an organisation might work with great efficiency,
1 See The Times, 2Oth February 1936.
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 77
but on the other hand it tends to shift responsibility from
the shoulders of the distributors themselves on to officials,
and a freer method with more opportunity for personal
initiative is desirable. Other possibilities have therefore
to be considered.
Judging from the experience of other countries the
marketing and converting of the raw products into food
might be dealt with efficiently in this country under one
of two methods. The first is to maintain in their present
position the existing merchants, dealers and processors
but to arrange, by agreement if possible, a certain measure
of regulation in the scope of their business, their prices,
and their margins of profit and so prevent overlapping
and the other evils of uncontrolled competition. Such
a method of regulation can be studied in Switzerland.
The second method is to adopt one of the proposals
(which appear to be based on modern developments of
agricultural co-operation) put forward under such titles
as "A Distributive Guild," "A Chartered Corporation,"
or " A National Co-operative Trust." All these proposals
really reduce themselves in principle to the creation of a
non-profit-making trust, and any of them might serve as
conduit pipes to convey the goods from the farmer to the
retail shops. We have adopted for this form of organisa-
tion the title " A National Distributive Trust."
It will throw light on such proposals if a study is made
of the many schemes of this character that have been
instituted in other countries during the last half century. 1
1 See the publications of the Horace Plunkett Foundation, and also
those of the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome.
78 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Here we may take as an example the methods employed
in dealing with Danish bacon. For many years a large
part of the export trade in Danish bacon to this country
has been controlled by what is substantially a non-profit-
making co-operative trust in which Danish producers
and British retail multiple shops and possibly other
retailers have been directly or indirectly represented.
This organisation takes charge of the bacon pig when it
leaves the farmer, converts it into bacon and by-products,
selects the best quality bacon for the British market, and
ultimately arranges its delivery to the retail shops in this
country. The price to be charged to the retail shops
has then been fixed at a standard rate by a special com-
mittee sitting in London, and all Danish farmers have
had credited to them, it is said, 75 per cent, of this price
paid by the British shopkeepers. Our inquiries go to
show that the shopkeepers' charges for selling Danish
bacon are low. It seems then quite clear that in this
case the producer, i.e. the Danish farmer, gets somewhere
about 60 per cent, of the price paid by the consumer.
There are, however, special points about the Danish
experiment that deserve careful consideration. The
Danish organisation happened to be started from the
producers' end, with the support of the Danish farmers.
Fixing on that special issue, agricultural co-operators
have argued that this is the best procedure and that
distribution should be organised by the producers. If,
they have said, the Danish farmers have succeeded in
organising their own distribution to the retail shops,
why cannot the British farmers? This point of view,
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 79
widely advertised, has confused the whole problem of
distribution in this country for a generation : it is therefore
worth while explaining that the success of the Danish
farmers as co-operative organisers of distribution arose
from the fact that in exporting their surplus bacon to
this country, they were building up a substantially new
business. In this country, on the other hand, distribution
is already completely organised, and farmers would have
to undermine and destroy this organisation if they were
to start on the Danish lines. The presence of established
business organisations is one of several reasons for the
failure of agricultural co-operation to deal effectively
with marketing in this country. There is another point
in the Danish organisation that deserves consideration.
It was built up to capture the British market, and in order
to do so it had to undermine first the British farmer and
then other overseas competitors in the production of
bacon. It was therefore impossible to fix and maintain
a fair price between producer and consumer, for the
price-fixing committee had always to see that their price
secured sales in a competitive market. This made it
necessary for them on occasions to cut prices, and that
in its turn reacted on the unfortunate Danish farmer,
Whose receipts might then fall below the costs of pro-
duction, as indeed they have done on occasions in recent
years. It is important to realise that an abnormal trade
of this character does not rest on an economic basis,
and is liable to be as disastrous to the Danish as to the
There are three lessons to be learnt from the Danish
80 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
experiment. First, that the general form of their
organisation is admirable; second, that whatever form
of organisation is built up, it must be based on the
maintenance of a fair standard price between producer
and consumer; and third, that a similar organisation
cannot be built up in this country by the farmers them-
selves, since there is a distributive trading business
already established. In relation to the third point it is
also important to realise that the main distributive
business of this country, the taking from the producer
the product of his industry and consigning it to the
town market or retailer, is a complicated matter, which
lies outside the scope of farmers' organisations. The
farmer's business is to farm, a whole-time occupation
that requires constant and intensive thought, and unless
farmers are prepared to concentrate upon it, they will
not succeed. Distribution has to be undertaken in the
main by distributors: it is an entirely separate matter
from production. It is, as sociologists would say, a
separate function. 1 Until this is . recognised we shall
make little progress.
If, then, we are going to solve the problem of dis-
tribution, we have sooner or later to recast our present
distributive system. It will have to function so that
whilst those farmers who deliver direct to consumers
are not unduly interfered with, and co-operative and
1 Some authorities think that a National Distributive Trust should
ultimately be brought within the control of the National Federation
of Agriculture. On such a point there may well be differences of
opinion; but, in any case, if there were two organisations they would
have to work in close collaboration.
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 8 1
collective country markets controlled by the producers *
for direct delivery, of special value for groups of small-
holders, are encouraged, the part of the farmers' produce
that is allocated to the town markets is collected and paid
for at a fair price, and delivered as promptly as possible
to the retailer or other consignee. At the same time
it must be built up in such a way as to be freed from the
motive that is now in the minds of all our intermediaries,
the motive of buying as cheaply as possible from the
producer and selling at as high a price as possible to the
consumer. 2 It should be of the nature of a group of
conduit pipes leading as directly as possible from producer
to consumer. It must not dominate the farmers, as the
distributive interests do to-day, but must work in con-
junction with them. 3 The Post Office plays a similar
part in the distribution of our letters, and all over the
world complete or partial organisations generally labelled
"co-operative" are organised for this purpose.
Distribution is then the immediate problem that we
have to face and solve. It requires, undoubtedly, far
more investigation than it has yet received, and this
cannot be undertaken by private individuals. The first
1 See Appendix, note 1 1 .
2 Some authorities argue that this involves the elimination of all
profit from all branches of distribution. Co-operative experiments
of the last half century in this and other countries go far to support
this theory. Indeed it appears that it is only when profit-making is
controlled or eliminated that distribution becomes effective.
3 Pending the formation of a National Federation of Agriculture
it may be desirable that farmers should organise themselves co-
operatively for the express purpose of working in with the Distributive
82 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
step must come from Parliament and a possible line of
action is suggested. Marketing Commissioners should be
appointed to get into touch with the various merchants,
dealers and other organisations responsible for dis-
tribution and conversion of produce into food; they
should prepare a scheme for drawing together and
supervising the existing traders in a particular produce,
or alternatively, for a complete organisation of a selected
trade. 1 Whichever scheme were adopted, it would have
to cover the whole ground from the farmer to delivery
either to the retail shops, or to consumers' co-operative
societies, hotels and other similar bodies that purchase
direct for consumption: in dealing with organisations
such as mills in the case of wheat, pork and bacon
factories in the case of the pig trade, factories for the
conversion of potatoes into flour or alcohol, and canning
and jam factories in the case of fruit, the distribution
may sometimes have to be regulated or organised both
to and from the specific organisations concerned in
converting the product into food. A scheme once
prepared for any particular trade would have to be
referred to Parliament for consideration and when an
order had been made for its adoption, it might be returned
to the Commissioners to draw the present intermediaries
in that particular branch of distribution into the new
form of organisation, which ultimately would form a
part of the National Distributive Trust.
A comprehensive organisation having complete
1 Such action might possibly be taken under the Agricultural
Marketing Act, 1931, section 15.
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 83
knowledge of the markets will be in a specially strong
position. It will know where demand for any particular
produce is most likely to be found and how surpluses
can best be dealt with: and knowledge of markets will
make it possible for good advice to be given on the extent
of home production and the amount that should be
imported from abroad.
Here it may be noted that the introduction of standard
prices varying in accordance with quality will greatly
facilitate the organisation of the business of distribution.
Indeed without a system of standard prices it may be
impossible to organise distribution with complete
efficiency, though no doubt a good deal could be done.
In any case our object is to secure that transactions,
which, under our present system go through the hands
of half a dozen middlemen at various prices, will pass
through one set of hands only, at a regulated price and
under a system of scientific organisation of distribution.
Control of imports and a certain measure of regulation
of home production will also link up with and facilitate
efficient distribution. Moreover, if the suggestions
recommended below for dealing with imports be adopted,
the purchase from abroad of what is required over and
above home production could be placed in the hands
of the National Distributive Trust.
Some people may be frightened at the size of such an
organisation. Let them consider the Post Office, the
great co-operative organisations of the world, the multiple
shops, and the elaborate organisations built up during
the War. A big distributive business is, when once
84 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
organised, just as easy to carry on as a small one:
indeed perhaps it is easier.
In certain cases, such as eggs, fruit and vegetables,
food products are ready for consumption when they leave
the farmers' hands. But in most of the more important
branches of agriculture there is an intermediate process.
Wheat, for example, has to be converted into flour and
thereafter baked into bread, biscuits, cakes and so forth;
the bacon pig has to be converted into bacon and its
by-products; fruit not required for immediate con-
sumption may be converted into jam or canned; surplus
potatoes into potato flour or alcohol or food for stock;
barley and hops into beer.
In this country the converting of food and other
agricultural products into the finished article (to which
the name of processing has, as already noted, been
given) has been left, in the main, to private enterprise.
In other countries it is dealt with to a large extent by
co-operative factories and other organisations, organised
by cultivators, with Government backing in some cases.
Certain co-operative consumers' organisations have
also formed their own processing factories. It is the
general rule that in such co-operative organisations
profits are not permitted.
We have therefore three methods of approach to
consider: the balance of advantage seems to rest with
the system that places processing in the hands of co-
DISTRIBUTION AND PROCESSING 85
operative or public utility societies, controlled by, or
at least linked closely with, the farmers' organisations:
that is treating processing as a branch of production.
In any case, if agriculture is to be revived in this
country, processing factories and workshops must be
developed so far as is practically possible and brought
into national schemes; in every district there should
be the appropriate organisations, not competing with
one another, for dealing with the farmers' output, whether
it be treated for immediate consumption, storage for
subsequent sale, or other purposes.
The Government has taken, and is still taking, steps
to deal with this problem in various ways. Sugar beet
factories have been erected by private firms at agreed
centres, with the support of Government loans, and are
now being merged into a Sugar Beet Corporation;
factories are being started by the Potato Marketing Board
to deal with surplus potatoes, and by the English and
Scottish Milk Marketing Boards for dealing with surplus
milk. Further, the Government is, at the time of
writing, supporting schemes for creating new bacon
factories and drawing all such factories into a national
REGULATION OF IMPORTS
As it has turned out, nothing has been more disastrous
to our economic life than the policy, adopted by this nation
in the last century, of permitting food which we might
produce ourselves to come in freely from all over the
Its effect both in preventing expansion and even
reducing the production of food at home, the creation
of unemployment amongst agricultural workers, and the
undermining of the home agricultural market for industrial
products is, or should be, well understood. But these
special disasters do not stand alone. The policy of the
open market for food products, by creating in food
imports a security for the payment of interest and
dividends on foreign investments, made possible and
immediately profitable the large scale exportation of
capital. In a large number of cases this capital might
have been employed with advantage to the nation in
developing the wealth of our own country. Moreover,"
producers in other countries all over the world were
tempted to turn their attention from the development
of their own country, a disaster to their own national
life, in order to produce food for sale in the British
market. The ultimate result has been that in the struggle
for this market the prices paid to the producers of the
REGULATION OF IMPORTS 87
countries exporting to us have constantly fallen below cost
of production : l the disaster, by impoverishing these
producers, themselves prospective purchasers of British
goods, has undermined some part of our export trade.
A chaotic condition has thus been created. It will be
difficult to introduce order, for various vested interests,
already referred to, have been created which are
definitely hostile to the firsts tep to be taken an agricul-
tural revival in this country.
Hampered by this highly artificial position we have
now to persuade the country in its own interests to
elaborate a new system for dealing with imports of food.
In considering how this is to be done it is very desirable
to have a clear idea of the underlying objects.
Regulation of imports, in common with other trade
regulations, should secure first that the producer,
wherever he may be, is concerned to produce what the
available market, represented by the consumer, actually
needs; and next that production takes place in that part
of the world which gives the greatest economic and social
advantages. 2 Thus British regulation of imports should
aim not only at developing home production but at
1 "The price of wheat/' said Mr Walter Elliott, the Minister of
Agriculture, in a speech delivered at Glastonbury in 1935, "was
bringing ruin to the wheatland farmers of the world. The price of
milk products was bringing bankruptcy nearer and nearer to the
dairy farmers of New Zealand."
2 It is natural that the country making regulations should consider
its own nationals first, but in doing so they will constantly find that
they are benefiting other nations. Disaster to both Britain and
Canada have, for example, followed the maintenance of an open
market for wheat.
88 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
discouraging other countries from basing their economic
policy on producing for our market the food that we are
peculiarly adapted to create ourselves, and to turn
wherever possible to providing what we are not suited
to produce. The next problem that arises is to decide
from which of the supplying countries we should secure
our requirements, and we have here to consider whether
it is beneficial to our national and imperial development
to get the agricultural produce we cannot advantageously
provide ourselves from our dominions and colonies rather
than from foreign countries. 1 We have also to be certain
that, whilst the British farmer should have the first claim
an the home market within the limits of a fair price, the
whole of the balance of food needed to feed our people
is obtained from abroad. There must be no possibility
When we come to practical details of policy there arises
at once the special point that confronts us in every
problem that we have to face: are we to proceed by
indirect or by direct action? Are we to rely on the
indirect effect of tariffs or quotas or on direct purchase
from abroad by a trust or under licence, of what we are
not producing in our own country?
The policy here suggested is based on a belief that
only by direct action can we secure satisfactory results.
How then shall we proceed? The first step is to make
an estimate of our needs : for this purpose the Ministry
of Agriculture or other authority would have to be
1 This problem seems to be political and sociological rather than
REGULATION OF IMPORTS 89
responsible year by year for an estimate of national
needs and the extent of home production. With this
information it would be possible to decide in detail what
should be purchased from abroad. This should become
easier year by year as experience helps us and home
production increases. An authority acting on behalf of
each section of the trade should then be responsible for
securing from abroad whatever was needed to fill the
gap between home needs and home production.
We have next to consider the best method of action.
We find that in certain other countries two alternative
methods of securing this result are employed. The
first gives permits to the existing importing merchants
to import specific amounts up to the totals needed: the
second is for a marketing board to undertake the
purchases itself. 1 If a National Distributive Trust is
created as suggested above, it is eminently desirable that
it should purchase not only at home, but also from
abroad: if any other method is adopted the goods
acquired would have to be turned into the channel created
by the Distributive Trust. The object is to ensure
what economists call "a continuous equalisation of supply
and demand/' that is, a regular flow of what is needed
from the producers, whether at home or abroad, to the
consumers. This can never be done with absolute
perfection, but by developing storage capacities a
1 See League of Nations Report of Economic Committee on
Agricultural Protectionism, 28th May 1935: official number C. 178,
M. 97, 1935, UB- The method of giving permits to importing
merchants to purchase from abroad has been adopted, in this country,
for potatoes, under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933.
90 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
practical working scheme far nearer to perfection than
our present methods could be built up. We have the
experience of other countries and the results of recent
experiments in this country to guide us, and also the
profound knowledge of British merchants, who have
always had this problem to consider. But it is essential
to success that the action should be taken, not through
political channels, but by the buyers of this country acting
in direct contact with the sellers in others.
If this became our national policy, it would be easy
to give preference, after our home producers, to our
colonies and dominions. It would also be possible to
watch closely the effect of our policy on the exporting
industries and regulate our plans accordingly.
Such a policy would give a large measure of security
to the producers in other countries, who would know in
advance to what extent and at what price the British
market would absorb their produce: well informed of
what we were likely to require, they could plan their
production accordingly. Thus from their lives the
element of gamble would be largely eliminated.
The price at which imported produce should be
brought into the home market here arises and a tariff
or levy can be imposed if desired : the tariffs or levies
will then take their proper place in the national economy.
It will be realised that the duties cannot be relied on to
regulate efficiently either the bulk of supplies or price
levels, and if imposed in the way that has been customary
in the past, there is always a danger that they may be
transferred to the consumer in higher retail prices.
REGULATION OF IMPORTS 9!
However, under the system of control recommended
here, they could be used advantageously to provide a
fund from which costs of administration of marketing
schemes can be paid and money provided for any subsidies
or other assistance to the home industry which may be
temporarily needed to maintain home prices at the
If a complete form of organisation is created on the
lines suggested above, whereby both home and foreign
produce is purchased by the National Distributive Trust,
the problem may well take a different form. The
question of tariffs need not arise for the Trust could
buy from abroad what was needed to make up the deficit
in home production at the lowest price available in the
world market. If this price were below the British
standard price the Trust could put the difference to a
special account available first for paying costs of ad-
ministration, and then for subsidies or other assistance
for home agriculture, or for reducing prices to the
consumer. Alternatively the fund might be placed to
reserve to be drawn upon if prices for imported food
rise above the British standard price. 1
The regulation of imports has little value in itself;
but it fits into the general scheme for securing the
position of the farmer and increasing home production
and the creation of an economic unit. With its support
farmers will be able to develop their work without
being exposed to the dislocation of the market that may
arise from the dumping or other imports of food from
1 See The Rebuilding of Rural England^ by Montague Fordham.
92 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
abroad. It also helps to maintain a balance between
supply and demand and so makes possible the scientific
organisation of distribution, on the savings from which
so much depends. Only if imports, and so supplies,
are regulated does the maintenance of standard prices
in many branches of agriculture become a workable
proposition, whilst in the case of agricultural products
whose prices are not fixed it gives farmers a certain
measure of security. It is an important part of a general
BALANCING SUPPLY AND DEMAND
IN recent years the problem of balancing supply and
demand has loomed large in the agricultural affairs of
the world. It is constantly treated by economists as an
international rather than a national matter. Our national
policy should be directed to reaching an internal and
national balance of supply and demand instead of allow-
ing ourselves to be governed by an international balance
which must fluctuate and is entirely outside our control.
In Britain the problem takes a special and somewhat
artificial form. It is not a simple and direct problem
of balancing production and consumption of food within
the country, but is to a large extent controlled by national
policy, based on political and financial considerations;
its effect has been that the producers of other countries
have had what is substantially a first claim on the home
market. Were it not for the dominating influence of
this policy the British farmer could go on rapidly extend-
ing his production in accordance with the needs of the
nation. The regulation of imports will go some way to
help us to deal with this special feature, but we have
also to attack the home problem by direct action.
This home problem can be regarded from four different
points of view : the regulation of production, the expan-
sion of consumption, the maintenance of a regular demand,
and the utilisation of surpluses when they arise.
94 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
We will take first the direct control of production.
Here it may be noted that in the last century it was a
widespread practice for farmers' leases to contain
provisions for controlling in one way or another the
cultivation of the land; thus, directly or indirectly, the
crops were controlled, and this practice is not unknown
to-day. The older farmers at any rate are therefore not
unfamiliar with the idea. 1 There would be little
objection from individual farmers to limiting production
of any particular article if profitable alternatives were
suggested. As has already been mentioned, a basic
cause of our immediate difficulties is that farmers, driven
this way and that by the changes in prices, are constantly
turning over from one form of production to another,
and thus creating temporary over-production in that
branch of agriculture to which they turn. The market
is thus dislocated and in due course prices fall: the
farmers then turn to some other branch of industry
which tempts them for the moment. In recent years,
for example, the expectation of relatively good prices
for milk and the low level of fat stock prices has invited
stock farmers to turn to milk production and has created
many difficulties. A fair standard price for all the main
articles of production will destroy the inducement to
chop and change, and will make it possible to suggest
to farmers remunerative alternatives and so make control
of production an easier matter. This is a problem that
can best be dealt with through a National Federation of
Agriculture, when one is formed. Moreover for that
1 Such control of production has recently been introduced into this
country in the of case hops and potatoes.
BALANCING SUPPLY AND DEMAND 95
purpose a complete survey of the country is of primary
importance, so that we may know how the land can best
The second approach to the problem of securing a
balance between production and consumption is by the
expansion of consumption. The development of agri-
culture by increasing production, and so wealth, amongst
agriculturists and those engaged in industries that are
closely allied to, and provide the needs of, agriculture,
in itself increases the consumption of food products,
and so is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless,
the main problem is the raising of purchasing power;
the alternative, and still to some extent I popular, proposal
of reducing prices to the consumer, with the object of
increasing turnover, may well result in impoverishing
producers by lowering wages or by unemployment
following rationalisation of production. So, since
producers are themselves consumers, it is liable to defeat
its own ends.
Certain financial reformers of unorthodox schools of
thought are facing this problem. They suggest that,
in the main, the evil is one of lack of money amongst
consumers, and they recommend that special money
issues should be made to consumers as such, in order to
create a balance between production and purchasing
power. This proposal cannot be discussed here, but
it should not be dismissed without consideration. The
State already issues, out of special funds, allowances to
1 See for example the address given by Lord Elgin to the Annual
Meeting of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust The Times,
6th March 1936.
96 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
the unemployed and others which are largely used in
increasing consumption. On the other hand, we visualise
the general problem as one to be dealt with by raising
the standard of living, and so the purchasing power,
of the workers as a whole. It is certainly obvious that
there are in this country millions of men, women and
children, belonging to the ranks of the permanently or
temporarily unemployed, who, living at a low standard
of life, are suffering from malnutrition: they are all
possible consumers of the food we can so easily produce,
but their standard of life must be raised. They should
certainly be consuming more eggs, milk, fruit and
vegetables. Recent discussions about the consumption of
milk have brought out some illuminating facts. Amongst
poor families in many districts the consumption of fresh
milk is negligible, whilst the English average con-
sumption per head per week is only about 2| pints, as
against 4^ pints in the Netherlands.
Sir John Orr, 1 in an address given to the British
Association for the Advancement of Science, in 1935,
dealt with this problem : he said that there were 20,000,000
persons in this country living below a proper level of
health and energy. To attain the output needed to
provide these individuals with the food they need it
would be advisable, in his view, to increase home pro-
duction of milk by 42 per cent., that of fruit and vegetables
by 53 per cent., and that of butter and eggs by 25 per
cent. He suggests that this involves an increase of
1 Sir John Orr, D.S.O., M.C., M.D., D.Sc F.R.S., Director of
the Imperial Bureau of Animal Nutrition.
BALANCING SUPPLY AND DEMAND 97
consumption of food of the value of 200,0005000 a
year at retail prices. The increased production would
bring perhaps half a million individuals into work.
Sir John suggests, quite rightly, that money now paid
to the unemployed might be directed to this pur-
pose. It may be added that we should thus be sub-
sidising employment instead of unemployment. Such
proposals involve a complete change in the nation's
economic policy, which, though it conforms with the
theories that underlie this book, cannot be discussed
at length here. But in our view the standard of living
amongst our working population as a whole could be
raised by applying to industry the functional method
here advocated for agriculture. Meanwhile it should
be observed that something is being done to develop
consumption without a complete change of policy. A
market for surplus milk has recently been found in our
elementary schools, and the idea underlying this action
has wide application. Why should not surpluses be
definitely directed to use in other public institutions,
such as workhouses, and in the army, and also maybe
provided for the unemployed? This problem is being
widely discussed at the time of writing and the Govern-
ment has promised to consider what can be done. 1
There are other ways of dealing with the surpluses
that under any system must occasionally arise. We
have to provide channels into which these surpluses can
flow. Much can be done by the provision of granaries
to store surplus corn, of canneries and cold storage for
1 See Appendix, note 12.
98 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
surplus fruit and vegetables, of factories for turning
potatoes into flour (one of the best forms of food), and
milk into cheese and butter, and so forth. Moreover
in some cases, particularly potatoes, we can utilise our
surpluses as cattle food.
Surpluses having been considered, the question of
shortages will naturally occur to the minds of readers.
Under the system here recommended there is little
likelihood, except in case of war, of deficiency of supply.
Nevertheless shortages of specific articles of food may
sometimes occur, as they do to-day. The price problem
may then have to be considered by the appropriate
authority in relation to the special facts of each case,
but in our view such shortages, if they affect the main
necessities, should not be reflected in undue rises of
There is no possibility of creating and preserving
absolute equality of supply and demand, but the balancing
will be greatly helped if we can secure the maintenance
of a regular demand. In the administration of the
Agricultural Marketing Acts one of the great difficulties
has been the variation of the consumers' demand for
specific articles, especially bacon. These variations
were found to arise from quite small changes in retail
prices. The variations of demand would be reduced if
wholesale prices did not themselves vary, in which case
retail prices, and so demand, would tend to be uniform,
and the evil would be almost entirely obviated if, as
recommended elsewhere, retail prices were fixed con-
currently with wholesale.
WE do not overlook the financial problem. We recognise
that, as Mr McKenna, 1 a great banker, and at one time
Chancellor of the Exchequer, said on one occasion,
"They who control the credit of a nation direct the
policy of governments and hold in the hollow of their
hands the destiny of the people."
To-day, in this as in almost every other country, the
working farmers, large and small, are as a rule heavily
in debt. In this country liabilities may extend not
only to bankers, dealers and other middlemen, but also
to a special class called " farmer-dealers," who combine
farming, dealing and the lending of money to their
It is clear that to-day the working farmers have, as a
rule, little security to offer, if further advances are
needed for development of their business. The in-
stitution of standard prices and orderly marketing will
in themselves create a security on which, it is hoped,
bankers may be willing to make advances; it may be
that with this security the bankers will be able to deal
with the situation, if and when the revival of agriculture
1 The Right Hon. Reginald McKenna, P.C., has held several
Cabinet posts: Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1915-16. Chairman
of the Midland Bank from 1919 to present date.
100 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
becomes part of our national policy. Alternatively or
concurrently the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation and
the Lands Improvement Company might be placed on
broader bases and given extended powers. Another
suggestion, favoured by some authorities, is that special
agricultural credit banks, organised on the co-operative
lines that have been so successful on the Continent,
might be founded: these banks might work in close
co-operation with the National Federation of Agriculture. 1
Credit for development has to be provided under some
appropriate system. But it is well to remember, as has
been already stated, that increase of credit does not itself
solve the problem of the farmer's money difficulties ; a
farmer has to get out of debt, and this he cannot do by
further borrowing unless the funds borrowed can be
used for profitable enterprise. His debts have somehow
to be reduced to a reasonable level.
Finance will also have to be provided for new processing
factories and the like, and for the purposes of the National
Distributive Trust. Finally it may be pointed out that
when a National Federation of Agriculture is created,
it may require an appropriate financial system.
1 See Appendix, note 13.
THE NATIONAL ORGANISATION OF
AN AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION AND
A NATIONAL FOOD COUNCIL
(i) THE AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION
IT is hoped that three important things are now clear:
the first> that the future of British civilisation depends
on the revival of agriculture and its reinstatement in its
proper position in our national life; the second, that
this revival, if it is to take its true part in the solution of
our national problems, must be directed to the absorp-
tion into agriculture and related industries of those
workers of all classes who cannot be employed through
the development of overseas trade or in certain other
forms of employment that might be developed with
advantage to our national life; the third, that the economic
policy needed to secure this result must be based on
standard prices, the scientific organisation of distribution
and processing, the regulation of food imports, the
balancing, so far as possible, of supply and demand, and
the provision of the necessary credit for development.
We have now to consider the form of the organisation,
and the nature of its directorate, that will secure the
results at which we are aiming, for without an appropriate
organisation and efficient directors we are bound to fail.
We have to create a constitution for agriculture. It is a
104 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
strange thing that the idea of a constitution for the
government of our economic life, though admitted by
many sociologists and politicians of varying shades of
opinion, has never been given a practical form.
What form should the needed organisation take?
It must be "functional," that is, formed with a clearly
defined purpose and endowed with the necessary powers
to carry that purpose out. We have also to bring the
agricultural problem within bounds, so that control can
be exercised. A problem has, of course, to be dealt with
in relation to its surroundings, but it has also, for purposes
of action, to be isolated. But this is not all. We have
to obtain directors for our constructive work who have
the knowledge of the subject and the power and interest
to work out solutions ; for it is only when men of capacity
who mean business come upon the scene that obstacles
disappear and solutions are worked out.
These three principles, the bringing of a problem
within bounds that make control possible, the grant to
the organisation of sufficient power to deal with details,
and the provision of efficient directors govern all con-
structive work whether it be on a large or small scale.
One has seen them being applied to economic and social
problems on a large scale by Mussolini in Italy, by Stalin
and his associates in Russia, by Roosevelt in America.
Such measure of success as Mussolini and Stalin have
had in getting their policies adopted whether they be
good or bad is immaterial to the point depended on
their creating efficient organisations and securing effective
control, and it was from want of these necessities that
THE AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION 105
Roosevelt has been constantly defeated. The principles
are equally fundamental in minor matters. One can
see them being applied by a business man building up a
great commercial enterprise, or by a farmer managing a
farm. The farmer, in particular, realises these essentials
intuitively. His business being constructive and creative
requires control. He has to get it "into his mind" and
"under his hand," as he would say, and even then every-
thing depends on continuous thinking and continuous
action. All his work will be hampered and indeed may
be undermined if, for example, his financial arrangements
are not in his own control but in that of his banker, or if
outsiders are entitled to rush in and spoil the market on
which he depends to secure both a just reward for his
work and the further funds needed to carry it on.
At the present time there is no clear-cut controlling
organisation that can direct a national agricultural policy
either in general outline or in detail, whilst so far as there
is any measure of control it is largely in the hands of
politicians. There is no reason to attack politicians.
They are doing extremely important work under con-
ditions of great difficulty. In recent years (1932-35)
agriculture and the nation owe a debt of gratitude to
Mr Walter Elliott, the Minister of Agriculture, and the
Earl de la Warr, 1 his late Parliamentary Secretary, who
have attempted with great courage, though perhaps with
insufficient support from the Cabinet and the agri-
culturists themselves, to initiate and carry through a
1 The Earl de la Warr 5 Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Agriculture, 1930-35.
106 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
comprehensive agricultural policy. Where they have
failed, the failure is largely due to the character of our
political life and organisation.
Nevertheless, whilst we are not ungrateful to politicians
for what has been done already, and we recognise that
at any rate the outlines of our national agricultural policy
must be laid down by Parliament, it appears to us un-
desirable that the working out of the detail of agricultural
policy should rest with politicians. This opinion is
based on the following considerations. The basic
problems are economic and sociological rather than
political, and in the economic sphere at any rate politicians
are admittedly, with rare exceptions, not too well informed
and have little time for intensive study. Then we note
that political life leads to over-emphasis of the value of
discussions, which in fact often degenerate into wrangles;
as a result it constantly happens that questions that
ought to be settled after a few hours of careful con-
sideration, may be discussed in Parliament at great
length and then adjourned, with the result that a settle-
ment of immediate issues is postponed even from session
But there is another reason why political control must
fail. Continuity of action is essential for success, and
that can never be obtained from politicians. "Whatever
one Parliament does," has said Mr Baldwin, 1 "it is in
the power of another Government to confirm, to increase,
1 Rt. Hon. Stanley Baldwin^ P.C Prime Minister of Britain,
1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-36. For many years Leader of the Con-
THE AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION IOy
to diminish, and abolish"; whilst Mr Lansbury l went
further when he declared that "in future the Labour
Party would have no use for continuity." Moreover it
is not only that changes of policy come with changes of
Government. The same Government may change its
policy, or at least the detail of its policy, from one year
to another. British agriculturists have, indeed, had bitter
experiences of such changes of policy, both before and
since the War.
If, therefore, political control^ save over the outlines
of national agricultural policy, is to be ruled out, we turn
to consideration of the course suggested in this book
which provides, it is to be hoped, the right solution. It
is based on what is called in sociology "functionalism,"
that is, the art (or science) of organising for the essential
purpose. It is what proverbial philosophy recommends
with the phrase: "Mind your own business." The
sociologist labelling himself a "functionalist" may well
agree with the man of common sense who asserts that it
is desirable to mind your own business. Both, if logical,
may go on to agree that the farmer's business is to farm,
that is, to develop production of food and other products
on his land, and that the business of agriculturists as a
community is similarly to develop and control production
on the land as a whole for the advantage of the nation
as a whole.
We recommend then that a Federation of the agri-
cultural interests should be entrusted with the work of
1 Rt. Hon. George Lansbury, P.C., First Commissioner of Works,
1929-3 1 ; Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, 193 1-35.
IO8 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
restoring agriculture to its proper position in our national
life. We are not, however, so sanguine as to suppose
that any Government would create a Federation with
the wide powers and responsibilities that are needed for
this purpose. It is, however, possible that Parliament
might be persuaded to institute a Federation with an
advisory position and thereafter subsequent Parliaments
might enlarge its powers and rights. Having made this
reservation, we will consider the case for creating such a
Federation and the work it should undertake.
The first advantage of such a Federation is that
explained by the late Lord Milner, 1 perhaps the most
brilliant advocate of the functional method in modern
times. "This method," he has stated, "places the
onus of improving the conditions of the industry upon
the people engaged in it instead of attempting to effect
such improvement by external pressure." But this
advantage does not stand alone. It must be well known
that the want of a comprehensive authority representing
agricultural interests with which Governments can
negotiate has, in recent years, caused innumerable
difficulties and delays, and rendered almost impossible
the building up of an agricultural policy. The late Sir
Basil Blackett 2 in his work entitled Planned Money
1 The Rt. Hon. Lord Milner, K.G., b. 1854, d. 1925. Amongst
many other posts this statesman held the office of High Commissioner
and Governor of the Cape Colony in 1900 and was subsequently
High Commissioner and Governor of South Africa. He was Minister
of War, 19183 and Colonial Secretary, 1919.
2 Sir Basil Blackett, K.C.S.L, b. 1882, d. 1935. Amongst other
posts held by him was that of Director of the Bank of England. His
THE AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION 109
emphasised in this relation the importance of the
functional type of organisation, to the State as well as
to agriculture. He considered that agriculture, in
common with other branches of economic life, must be
organised "as a whole" and "must meet the Govern-
ment" as "an organised functional" body "capable not
only of receiving orders from the Government but of
being entrusted by the Government with wide powers
of co-operative action." These are the two main
advantages of the line of action recommended.
How then should such a Federation be formed? Unless
we are prepared to appoint a dictator, a method entirely
unsuited to our English tradition, we must depend on
democracy; there is no compromise. If therefore we
accept democracy, membership of the Federation should
be broadly based, including all those cultivators who
market their produce, and also the other workers on the
land. It might also be extended to include the village
craftsmen and other country people working directly for
agriculturists. It might possibly with advantage include
the directors and employees of village mills and local
bacon factories and others concerned in converting
produce into food. But the important thing is to draw
'producers together into a clearly defined organisation.
The Federation should be decentralised so far as is
possible. There might well be elected District Corn-
chief work lay in advising the British Government on finance in the
years after the War; he was also at one time Finance Member of the
Viceroy of India's Executive Council. Keenly interested in social
problems, he was for some time President of the British Social
110 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
mittees, who might appoint in their turn one of their
members to a County Committee, which might in its
turn select members from their number to a Central
Council, the Parliament of Agriculture. The Central
Council would be most likely to be effective if it were
limited in number: one hundred members would be
ample. The Federation might absorb certain of the
present organisations dealing with agricultural problems,
and also take over the work of the various Marketing
Boards, and other Authorities formed recently under the
Agricultural Marketing Acts; it might perhaps undertake
the agricultural business of the County Councils. It
could work through specialised Committees like a City
or County Council. The Minister of Agriculture might
be its President. It might be desirable to pay repre-
sentatives, but even if this were so, the cost would be
microscopic in relation to the issues; payment would
help the position of those agriculturists who have no
money to spare for public work, and so enable them to
give time and energy to it.
This form of organisation is suggested, but the
suggestion is not made dogmatically: there may be
better forms. There are, however, certain advantages in
this form. It reduces elections to one, that of the
District Committees, and it leaves it to those Committees
and the County Committees to appoint the men they
know to be suited to the job. It would also create vital
local interest, and should win the general confidence
of and support from the farmers and labourers and others
concerned in the agricultural life of the country. It
THE AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION III
would draw together personal, local and national life,
an essential if we are to make our people vitally concerned
in national interests. It would put power into the hands
of the people specially concerned with the problem, and
so could hardly, like the politicians of the last hundred
years, lose sight of the primary objective to obtain for
agriculturists a price for their produce that will sustain
the industry in a high state of efficiency.
Something may next be said of the detailed work of
the Federation when formed.
How far such a Federation should intervene in the
particular problems that arise out of our system of land
tenure is a matter of opinion, and in any case cannot be
dealt with here, but it should advise and possibly take
action on such questions as electric supply, drainage
and irrigation. But the production of what is needed
to supply the home market should be its main objective.
This can only be effectively dealt with after there has
been a complete survey of the land of Britain as a whole.
With this information before it, and a knowledge of what
should be produced at home, it would be possible to
advise farmers what they should produce in order to
bring about, so far as possible, a balance between supply
and demand. It might go further in some cases and
exercise direct control over production. The problem
of dealing with surpluses should also be dealt with by
the Federation. Then comes the all-important problem
of absorbing into agriculture and the closely related
occupations a far larger proportion of our workless of
all classes. Here, as has been already pointed out, we
112 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
can do little so long as, on the one hand, our national
policy is directed to bringing the greater part of our food
from abroad, and, on the other, the marketing of the
increased produce that will be created remains unsettled.
However, the Federation when formed, whilst fighting
for the development of agriculture as part of our national
policy, should support all practical schemes for increasing
employment on the land and for the extension of allot-
ments. Agricultural education and research should also
be fostered by the Federation. 1
The relation of the Agricultural Federation to the
nation remains to be considered. Here a specific
suggestion is made.
(ii) A NATIONAL FOOD COUNCIL
Undoubtedly there is a real danger that a Federation
of the agricultural interests will put the interests of the
producers before those of the consumer and even of the
nation; but national interests must ultimately control
the whole situation, and those in their turn need a special
form of organisation. On this something remains to be
Ultimately all problems of trade and industry may be
dealt with on lines similar to that here recommended fot
agriculture, and an Industrial Parliament may deal with
all agricultural and industrial questions. But the im-
portance and value of such a line of policy is insufficiently
understood in this country, and is viewed with suspicion
by our elder statesmen, who have been brought up in a
1 See Appendix, note 14.
A NATIONAL FOOD COUNCIL 113
different tradition. For the moment such a policy is
therefore outside the sphere of practical politics. A more
immediately practical proposal is the creation of a
National Food Council to represent the interests of
the nation as a whole, and to control our agricultural
policy from the national point of view.
On such a National Food Council, not only the Govern-
ment, but producers and consumers and possibly other
interests, should be represented. The Council should
take ultimate responsibility for scales of prices and for
minimum rates of wages which should be settled so far
as possible concurrently. It should decide or at least
advise the nation on how far we are to produce our own
food and how far we are to import it, and exactly what
food we should produce; that is to say, it should, in
conjunction with the Federation, outline how much of
the various products of agriculture wheat, meat, milk,
poultry, eggs, fruit, vegetables and flowers should be
produced at home and how much should be imported.
It should further concern itself with the all-important
problem of the increase of home consumption of home-
produced food. Then the Council should see that the
various parts of the problem are dealt with and solved
Concurrently, so that, for example, the control of imports
interlocks with home production, and the control of
production and the methods of using and storing surpluses
should connect up with distribution and processing.
Acting in the national interest as a central controller,
it would gradually, by continuous work, find a solution
of all our agricultural problems.
114 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
A National Federation of Agriculture, acting in con-
junction with a National Food Council, is then the form
of organisation recommended to deal with our agricultural
Whilst the relations of these organisations to Parliament
and the Government is a matter that would require a
more exhaustive examination than can be given here, it
may be observed that ultimate control of at least the
outlines of national agricultural policy would undoubtedly
for many years be retained by the Government of the day.
The function of the Food Council, acting in conjunction
with the Federation, would probably be to make recom-
mendations to the Government of the day on the questions
they were not empowered to deal with themselves, such
as the extent of home production and imports; these
recommendations might then be embodied in Government
1 See Appendix^ note 15.
A FINAL COMMENT
WE have been concerned to lay down in this book the
main issues of our agricultural problem and to indicate
a policy that will deal effectively with these issues.
The policy has been arrived at after many years of
continuous detailed investigation of rural problems in
this and other countries. This investigation is the most
comprehensive that has yet been made, and has been
accompanied by study of various large scale practical
experiments, in some of which members of our Associa-
tion have taken leading parts, concerned with rural
problems in this country, in Central Europe, in India
Though this policy has secured the opposition usually
accorded in England to new ideas, it has been accepted
in many of its details, and to some extent in principle,
by three successive Ministers of Agriculture, 1 incorporated
into legislation, and in part applied. There has been a
considerable measure of success, whilst where there has
been failure it has been due, we suggest, to the somewhat
hasty and piecemeal methods of applying the policy
rather than to the policy itself. We ask that this policy
1 The Rt. Hon. Christopher Addison, M.D., Minister of
Agriculture, 1930-31. The Rt. Hon. Sir John Gilmour, Minister of
Agriculture, 1931-32, and The Rt. Hon. Walter Elliott, Minister of
Il6 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
should be accepted as a whole. We do not mean that
it can all be carried out at once; what is needed is a
general plan of action applied in instalments.
Finally we desire to say that the revival of agriculture
is not advocated for itself alone. It leads naturally to a
complete change of national policy, which will give new
life to the material and spiritual growth of the nation.
i. (i) NOTES ON LEGISLATION AND ON THE
SCHEMES FOR MARKETING OF AGRI-
CULTURAL PRODUCE CONFORMING WITH
THE ECONOMIC THEORY AND PRACTICAL
PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD IN THIS BOOK.
See page 23
Full information can be obtained by reference to the
"Agricultural Register " issued annually by the Agri-
cultural Economic Research Institute, Parks Road,
The legislation and the schemes arising from it deal
directly with (i) Sugar Beet, and (2) Wheat, whilst (3)
The Agricultural Marketing Acts (1931-35) make pro-
vision for the fixing of prices and the organisation of
marketing of agricultural products in general through
special schemes for specific products; these schemes
are brought into operation through administrative orders.
(i) Sugar Beet. The new policy in this case was
initiated by the British Sugar (Subsidy) Act, 1925. The
Treasury, under the provisions of this and subsequent
Il8 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Acts, has made a contribution out of national funds, to
the manufacturers of the finished product, i.e. the sugar
factories. Concurrently, rebates have been given, by a
preferential duty, on home-produced sugar. As the
outcome of this legislation many sugar factories have
been started throughout the country, some with the
support of Government loans. A standard price as
between factories and farmers is fixed year by year in
accordance with an elaborately computed scale, after
negotiation between representatives of the producers
and the factories.
The area brought under cultivation in 1935 under
this scheme was 374,753 acres; the subsidy for the same
year amounted to 2,775,000, and the rebate on excise
duties to 2,438,000.
The scheme at the time of writing (April 1936) is being
revised and new legislation is before Parliament. The
subsidy is now to be limited to 560,000 tons of white
sugar annually. The factories are being drawn into a
(2) Wheat. The policy adopted in this case by the
Government was initiated by the Wheat Act of 1932.
This policy followed in its general outline the suggestions
of the Rural Reconstruction Association, the bill being
introduced into Parliament by the Minister of Agriculture
as a proposal for securing "a Standard Price for Wheat."
The Treasury under this Act distributes a subsidy
a "deficiency payment" direct to such farmers as grow
and sell wheat of a millable quality to the millers. The
total amount of the subsidy is then collected by a levy
on the millers and on imported flour. The millers
presumably allow for it in arriving at the selling price of
flour, which is fixed from time to time by arrangement
in which the millers are concerned. The normal
deficiency payments are at a flat rate per hundredweight,
calculated to bring the total average returns to growers
up to los. per hundredweight. But the amount of
wheat on which the subsidy is paid is limited to
27,000,000 hundredweights, with the result that when
the total amount of the home-produced wheat coming
under the scheme increases above that figure, the
amount per hundredweight paid to individual farmers is
The control of the administration is in the hands of a
(3) General Schemes. A new line of policy that can
be applied through special administrative orders to any
agricultural product was initiated by the Agricultural
Marketing Act of 1931. This Act, carried through
Parliament by the Labour Government then in power,
was, it is claimed, the direct result of many years of
intensive educational work carried on by the Rural
Reconstruction Association and its friends within the
The main objective of the Marketing Act of 1931 and
of the subsequent Acts that modified or extended it was
the institution of Marketing Boards representing pro-
ducers of specific products in order to exercise a
120 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
measure of control over prices, production and pro-
cessing, and also over the initial stages of the distribution
of the specific products. Distribution as a whole is
not deal with.
The preliminary step (save in the case of hops and
potatoes, where direct action was taken) was the ap-
pointment of a Commission to study each specific
problem. Such Commissions have been appointed to
deal with Pigs and Pig products, Milk, Fat Stock,
Poultry and Eggs; all these Commissions have reported.
Thereafter schemes were prepared, based to some extent
on the reports of the Commissioners. When these
schemes have been accepted by the producers and by
Parliament, the next step is to place their administration
in the hands of specially constructed Marketing Boards,
which are ultimately elected by the producers. Schemes
have been prepared and Boards have been established
to deal with hops, pigs and bacon, milk, and potatoes.
Some measure of control of the administration rests
with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Various examples of the action taken by these Boards
are given in the text.
(ii) DIFFICULTIES IN ADMINISTRATION.
See page 23
Farmers and the public generally are puzzled as to
the reason why these schemes work inefficiently in many
details, and have to be constantly modified; why, as
has been said, the method of "trial and error" was
adopted. This confusion arose no doubt in part from
the fact that a comprehensive scheme for dealing with
agriculture as a whole had not been worked out in
advance, and in part because various important aspects
of the problem had not been sufficiently considered in
detail. A study of the reports of the Commissioners
will throw light on this subject. On such study it will
be observed that these reports do not deal with many
basic issues. They do not, for example, explain the
exact principles on which standard prices should be
fixed; they do not show clearly the relation of the
organisation of production and the initial stages of
marketing to the general problem of distribution : nor do
they deal sufficiently with the question of equalising
supply and demand. Dealing admirably with certain
practical details, they avoid rather than face the main
issues. Had the problem been fully faced by the Com-
missioners as a whole, and appropriate provisions in-
cluded in the schemes, many of the mistakes would have
been prevented. The modifications in the schemes now
being made at the instance of the Boards themselves or
the Government should produce a better working system.
2. AFFORESTATION. See page 31
The importance of Forestry is not overlooked. The
exact steps that should be taken and the area that could
be dealt with is a matter for specialists : but it is generally
agreed that there are millions of acres of land suited for
afforestation, that very many thousands of men could
be employed in the preliminary work, of whom a large
proportion could be permanently employed.
122 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
3. PARTICULARS OF THE IMPORTS TO THE
UNITED KINGDOM OF AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCE OF THE CHARACTER PRODUCED
AT HOME, FOR THE YEAR 1934. See page 35
Wheat Meal and Flour . . . 3-1
Other Cereals and Cereal Products . 10-5
Total Cereals . . . 41-2
Live Animals. Total ... 5-3
Beef and Veal .... 22-3
Mutton and Lamb . . . .18-1
Bacon and Hams . . . -33*2
Pork and other Pig Products . 5-0
Other Meat 1-2
Total Meat .... 79-8
Milk Products and Cream . -3*5
Total Dairy Products . 43-8
Fruit in Sugar and Jam . . .5-8
Flowers and Bulbs . . . .2-1
Total Fruit and Vegetables . 25-6
Total Poultry and Eggs . 10-6
Sugar (unrefined) . . . . 13-3
Lard ...... 3-9
Hides and Skins . . . .6-7
Flax (not including Tow) . .2-4
Total Sundries ... 18-6
Total Imports of Products of a character
which we produce in the United
Extracted from the "Annual Statement of the Trade
of the United Kingdom,, 1934," Vol. ///, and from
the "Accounts relating to Trade and Navigation of
the United Kingdom^ December 1935 "
4. EMPLOYMENT ON THE LAND. See page 35
Much discussion has arisen on the recent reduction
of the number of workers on the land. Though to some
extent this reduction arises from the use of machinery
and the rationalisation of the various processes of agri-
culture, it is in part due to the impoverishment of farmers,
who are constantly forced to cut their labour bill to the
lowest possible figure.
On the other hand the reduction of workers who come
under the heading of agriculture in census and other
reports may be counterbalanced by an increase of
124 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
workers engaged in preparation of feeding stuffs and
fertilisers and in dairy work, jam making and so
forth, and also in transport. In former days, and
to some extent in recent times, the corresponding
workers would have been classified as agriculturists,
since the work of this character was largely done on the
It should also be noted that there are in country
districts large numbers of individuals who, though
cultivating the land in conjunction with other occupa-
tions, are not classed as agriculturists.
The cost in unemployment benefit, arising from the
agricultural decadence, of keeping 1,000,000 workers
out of employment is computed at 50,000,000 a year.
5. IMMEDIATE DEVELOPMENT OF FOOD
PRODUCTION. See page 41
It is a matter for specialists to decide exactly which
branches of agriculture should be dealt with first. The
development of pork and bacon, milk, butter and cheese,
poultry and eggs, fruit and vegetables, appears to be of
immediate importance. Wheat production may well be
extended where land and climate are suitable, if it be
only to secure our position in case of war, whilst rye
could be grown on land that is not suited for wheat.
There are also clearly possibilities of increasing our
supplies of stock and of sheep. Flax growing might
be developed in suitable areas. How far the growing
of sugar beet should be extended is a matter of
6. INCREASE OF PRODUCTION IN ITS
RELATION TO COSTS. See page 41
Some economists argue that increase of output will be
accompanied by increase in the cost of production; others
take the opposite view. Under the standard price system
the point does not dominate the situation, for farmers
will produce what it pays them to do within the limits
of the standard price, and the balance comes in from
abroad at the lowest price available.
7. THE SHIPPING PROBLEM. See page 45
Analysed from the point of view of economics, shipping
appears as a distributive rather than as a directly pro-
ductive occupation. It is not arguable that the mere
moving of goods backwards and forwards across the
seas, though it gives employment to both men and
capital, has in itself an economic value.
We have, however, to face the fact that if we develop
agriculture and reduce imports on a large scale there may
be unemployment in shipbuilding, and also amongst
sailors and dock labourers.
The exact effect of developing agriculture on the
shipping industry is one of the problems that requires
full investigation. Such inquiries as we have been able
to make show that if we were to reduce the imports of
food by the absolute maximum of 200,000,000 a year,
the number of men employed in all branches of the
industry (including dock labourers) could hardly be
126 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
reduced by more than 100,000 as against a computed
increase of 1,000,000 in agriculture and further possible
gains in related industries.
8. PAYMENT OF INTEREST AND DIVIDENDS
ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN AGRI-
CULTURAL PRODUCE OF THE CHARACTER
THAT WE PRODUCE IN THIS COUNTRY.
See page 45
This is a question on which complete investigation
has yet to be made. It may, however, be here noted
that a large part of the agricultural imports that come
from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Argen-
tine, countries where we have large investments, are
utilised to pay the interest and dividends on such
9. THE COMMON INTEREST OF PRODUCERS
AND CONSUMERS. See page 59
It is constantly stated that there is a conflict of interest
between producers and consumers in regard to prices,
and much of our national economic policy is based on
this alleged conflict. Nevertheless, though the state-
ment is to some extent true the conflict is not irrecon-
cilable. Whilst the consumer is not necessarily a
producer, the producer is always a consumer. For
such producer-consumers there is a basic interest to
secure a fair return to the worker for his work and only
so far as it is compatible with this, the lowest price
to the consumer. This applies equally to food and
other goods that are of the nature of necessities. This
basic interest is in harmony with the interest of the
State of which the policy should be to keep the
population employed with a fair remuneration for their
10. SUBSIDIES. See page 70
Subsidies in their present form are in effect a transfer
by the State from one section of the community to
another of wealth that can, in the view of the State, be
employed by the recipients to the advantage of the nation.
Subsidies to agriculture at the present time may be
defended on the ground that they result in an increase
of national wealth, and so incidentally spread and lighten
the burden of taxation, and also as a means of increasing
employment and so reducing the costs of unemployment.
Defenders of this point of view say: "We prefer to
subsidise employment rather than unemployment/' If
subsidies are looked at from this viewpoint, it is im-
portant to be sure that they will have the exact effect
claimed for them, and that there is a nett gain.
Subsidies may be paid out of general taxation, by
tariffs or levies, or out of reserve funds arising from the
purchase of agricultural products from abroad below
the standard national rate. Economists of the orthodox
schools usually advocate that they should be paid out
of general taxation. But they certainly should not be a
permanent necessity for agriculture, as the savings that
128 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
will be effected by the scientific organisation of dis-
tribution will provide a sufficient fund to put production
on a sound economic basis.
Temporary subsidies may also be defended as they
are in the text as a means of paying the cost of change
over from one economic system to another.
At the present time it might be advantageous, as
Professor Stapledon suggests, to employ subsidies for
land reclamation. They might also be given with
advantage to aid the distribution of surpluses to the
unemployed and other impoverished classes by sale at
a reduced retail price.
n. COLLECTIVE AND CO-OPERATIVE
MARKETING, ETC. See page 8 1
In any organisation of distribution it is important from
the point of view of efficiency and economy to see that
the local purchasers have a first claim on the output of
the locality. Here collective or co-operative markets,
as advocated, and being instituted in some cases by the
Land Settlement Association, the Collective Country
Markets Association and the Women's Institutes, in
which groups of local producers sell their products direct
to consumers in markets in small towns and other suitable
centres, are of considerable value and might well be
extended : they are of special importance in connection
with new schemes of land settlement. Such markets
are carried on at a very low cost in relation to the turn-
over. Twenty-five per cent, is suggested as a fair com-
mission to cover expenses on sales. Markets might also
be founded with advantage in the boroughs and suburbs
of London and other great cities. Direct delivery from
farmers to customers especially common in the milk
trade might well be retained within the general scheme
of distribution, though price competition in a local area
should not be permitted. This principle is already
accepted in the milk trade.
12. SALE OF SURPLUSES. See page 9?
In the fruit and vegetable trades to-day, in many
markets, surpluses are sold to costermongers at purely
nominal figures and are then retailed at very low prices
in the poorer quarters of the towns.
13. CONTROL OF FINANCE.* See page 100
Some students of this subject, who are of opinion that
a basic evil in our economic system is the subjection of
producers to financiers, consider that it is desirable that
the Federation of Agriculture should control its own
14. THE WORK OF THE AGRICULTURAL
FEDERATION.* See page 112
Some writers on this subject have argued that the
main advantage of an Agricultural Federation will be
that the Federation will be able to deal conjointly with
* The Association is in no way committed to the special views
set out in notes 13, 14 and 15. The opinions there expressed are put
forward as matters of interest.
130 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
the triple problem of the increase of machinery and
rationalisation, the reduction of hours of labour, and
the raising of rates of wages. By this means it may be
possible to secure that such increase of machinery and
rationalisation is not reflected in the creation of un-
employment but in reduction of hours of labour and
raising of wages.
15. THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURAL
ORGANISATION.* See page 114
Some students of this subject suggest that the whole
problem of land tenure and food production can be dealt
with, with the greatest advantage to the producer and
the greatest economy to the consumer, through a com-
prehensive policy based on vesting the land in the
community and organising agriculture as a whole as a
public service. They suggest that if such a policy were
adopted the present-day framework of agricultural
production could be preserved and yet a greater measure
of freedom secured to the individual than he attains
to-day under the pressure of competitive forces which
he can neither understand nor control. This proposal
is supported by a suggestion that at the head of such an
agricultural service, elected and promoted from it,
should stand a directing council and thus agriculture
would be controlled by men and women who having
been right through the ranks from student or labourer
to farmer or district manager will be set free from other
duties to attend to the guiding and representing of the
The Executive Committee of the Rural Reconstruction
Association, Le Play House, 35 Gordon Square, London,
W.C. i, who take responsibility for the issue of this book
The LORD O'HAGAN, President of the Association.
Mr MICHAEL BEAUMONT, M.P., Chairman of Council.
Mr TRISTRAM HART, Treasurer.
* Mr MONTAGUE FORDHAM, Council Secretary.
Mr E. EPEY LANE.
* Miss O. LLOYD-BAKER.
Mrs HERBERT MUSGRAVE.
Mrs ARTHUR PENTY.
* Mr C. RUSSELL SCOTT.
* Mr C. F. STRICKLAND.
* Members of the Drafting Committee.
The Committee wish to express their thanks to Miss
Ruth L. Cohen, M.A., of the Agricultural Economics
Research Institute, Oxford, who, notwithstanding that
she is not altogether in agreement with the views of the
Committee, has kindly given great help both through
'her criticisms and the preparation of facts and figures.
This book has been prepared with every possible
care ; if errors have crept in, we welcome correction.
Page of present
work on which
each report is
Accounts relating to Trade and Navigation of
the United Kingdom . . . , 123
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United
Kingdom . . . . . . 123
Astor, Lord, and Mr Seebohm Rowntree:
Committee's Report . . . . 29 n.
Carnegie Trust : Mr Menzies-Kitchin's Report 29 n.
Central Chamber of Agriculture : Policy Com-
mittee's Report . . . . . 36 n.
Horace Plunket Foundation : Reports . . 77 n.
International Institute of Agriculture : Reports 77 n.
League of Nations : Reports . . . . 89 n.
Linlithgow Committee : Report . . . 73^-
Marketing Commissions : Reports. . . 1205^.
National Association of British and Irish
Millers: Report . . . . . 51 n.
National Guilds League: Committee's Report. 22
Orange Books on Marketing: Ministry of
Agriculture's Reports . . . 23 n. y 74
Rural Reconstruction Committee : Report . 22, 38 w.
Selborne, Lord: Sub-Committee's Report . 36 n.
134 THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Page of present
work on which
each book is
Agriculture Register, The: Agricultural Eco-
nomics Research Institute . . . 117
Agriculture after the War: Sir Daniel Hall . 37/2.
Agriculture and the Guild System: Issued by
The National Guilds League ... 22
Agricultural Dilemma, The: Issued by Lord
Astor and Mr Seebohm Rowntree . . 29 n.
Bread of Britain, The: A. H. Hurst . . 73/2.
Britain's Trade and Agriculture: Montague
Fordham . . . . . . 66 n.
Food : Sir Charles Fielding . . . . 37 n., 73 n.
Land, The: Now and To-morrow: Professor
Stapledon 32 n. y 37 n.
National Rural Policy, A: Issued by the Rural
Reconstruction Committee . . .22 n., 38 n.
Nemesis of Nations : Paterson . . . 49 n.
Planned Money : Sir Basil Blackett . . 108
Rebuilding of Rural England, The : Montague
Fordham 73 n.> 91 n.
ADDISON, CHRISTOPHER, 115.
Afforestation, 31, 121.
Agricultural Economics Research
Institute, 117, 131.
Agricultural imports and out-
put, value of, 35, 122,
Agricultural Marketing Acts, 23
seq., 59 seq., 82 n., 89 n., 98,
no, 117 seq.
Agricultural Mortgage Corpora-
Agricultural Organisation, future
Agricultural Organisation Soc-
Allotments, 40, 41 n., 44, 112.
Argentine, the, 38, 126.
BACON, 24, 37, 42, 60 seq., 64 n.,
78 seq., 82, 84 seq., 98, 109,
120, 122, 124.
Baldwin, Stanley, 106.
Banks and bankers, 15, 17, 19.
Brereton, Dr Cloudesley, 42.
British Association for the Ad-
vancement of Science, 96.
Canada, 87 n., 126.
Carnegie Trust, 29 n., 95 n.
Central Chamber of Agriculture,
'Chartered Co-operation,' 77.
'Cheapness, in food,' 28, 38, 73.
Climate and weather, 39 seq.,
Cohen, Miss Ruth L., 131.
Collective Country Markets
Collective markets, 81, 128.
Colonies, 88, 90.
Commissions and commission-
ers, 50, 82, 117, 119 seq.
Commodity standard of money,
Consumption. See Production
of food, etc.
Continuity of action, 64, 106 seq.
Co-operation and co-operators,
21, 29, 50, 61, 77 seq., 81,
83 seq., 100, 128.
Corn Laws, 19.
DANISH and Denmark, 78 seq.
de la Warr, Earl, 105.
Demand. See Supply and de-
Distribution, control and organi-
sation of, 12, 15, 18, 21, 37,
38, 72 seq., 92, 103, 120, 127.
Distributive Trust, National, 77,
80 n., 82 seq., 89, 100.
Dominions, 38, 45 seq., 88, 90.
Drainage, 32, 39, in.
ECONOMIC, Crises, 25, 30, 49;
Life, balanced, 26, 32; Unit,
50> 53. 9i.
I 3 6
THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Economist, The, 36.
Eggs and poultry., 37, 64, 84, 96,
113, I20y 122, 124.
Electricity,, 32, in.
Elgin, Lord, 95.
Elliott, Walter, 23, 87 n., 105, 115.
Emigration, 21 seq.
Enclosures, 15, 18.
Exporters, attitude of, 45.
FAMILY allowances, 18.
Farms, large or small, 27.
Federations, 13. See also
Finance and financiers (including
credit, etc.), 13 seq., 17, 19 seq.,
21, 28 seq., 30, 38, 53, 56 seq.,
62 seq., 67, 99 seq., 105, 126,
129. See also Investments.
Free Trade, 19 seq., 50 seq.
Functionalism, 13, 28, 97, 104
seq., 107 seq.
Gilmour, Sir John, 115.
Grading, 56, 69.
Granaries, 43, 97.
Guilds and guild system, 13.
HANNAN, SIR PATRICK, 71.
Holidays and holy days, 13 seq.,
Home production. See Produc-
tion of food, etc.
Hops, 24, 60, 64, 84, 94 n., 120.
House of Commons, resolution
ILIFFE, LORD, 36.
Import duties and tariffs, 18 seq.,
24, 50 seq., 55^ 62 seq., 71, 90.
Imports, agricultural, 35, 38, 39,
45 seq., 50, 63 seq., 86 seq., 92,
113, 122 seq.; To pay divi-
dends, etc., 38, 45 seq., 126.;
Control and regulation of, 12,
15, 21, 56, 63, 71, 83, 86 seq.,
92, 93, 103, 113.
Intermediaries. See Middlemen.
Investments abroad, 38, 45, 86,
Irrigation (and water supply), 32,
LABOUR PARTY, 74, 107, 119.
Laissez-faire policy, 28.
Land Club Union, 21.
Land reclamation. See Reclama-
tion of land.
Land settlement, 12, 21 seq.
29 n., 43 seq., 128; Associa-
Land tenure, 57 seq., in, 130.
Lands Improvement Company,
Lansbury, George, 107.
Levies, 90, 119, 127.
MACDONALD, RT. HON. J.
Machinery and equipment, 32,
39, 123, 129.
Marketing Acts. See Agricultural
Marketing Acts; Boards, 61,
62 n., 85, 89, no, 119 seq.;
Schemes, 23, 65 n., 91, 120 seq.
Markham, Gervoise, 16.
McKenna, Reginald, 99.
Middlemen and intermediaries,
72 seq., 81, 83, 99.
Milk, 24, 37, 60 seq., 64, 85, 94,
96 seq., 113, 120, 122, 124,
Milner, Lord, 108.
Ministry of Agriculture, 35 n.y
73, 88 3 105, no, 120.
Money issues, 95.
Money values, changes in, 51, 62.
Moryson, Fynes, 14, 16.
NATIONAL Farmers' Union, 70.
National Federation of Agricul-
ture, 55, 57, 80 n.y 8 1 n.y 94 3
100, 103 seq.y 129.
National Food Council, 55, 57,
66, 103 seq.y 112 seq.
New Zealand, 71, 87 n.y 126.
O'HAGAN, LORD, 70.
Orr, Sir John, 96 seq.
Ottawa Conference, 23.
'Over-production,' 14, 17, 94.
PLANS and planning, 12, 43
'Political Economy,' 25 seq.
Population, agricultural, 35, 41
seq., 123 seq.
Potatoes, 24, 37, 62 ., 82,
84 seq.y 89 n.y 94 n.y 98, 120.
Poultry. See Eggs.
Preferences, Empire, 24, 90.
Price, levels, 18, 28, 68, 90; lists,
Prices, fixed and regulated, 12,
15, 18, 22, 55 seq.y 60 seq.y
Fluctuating, 18 seq.y 56, 62,
68 seq.y 72; 'The just,' 15, 18,
21 ; Retail, 37, 41, 63, 67,
74 seq.y 90, 98, 128; Standard,,
15, 21, 56 seq.y 59 seq.y 74, 78,
80 seq.y 91 seq.y 94, 99, 103,
118, 121, 125; 'World,' 66.
Producers and consumers, com-
mon interest of, 54, 59, 126
Production of food, etc., control
of, 56, 62, 93 seq.y for use, 69;
Home, 34 seq., 41. 45 seq., 50,
56 3 63, 75 seq.y 82 seq., 86 seq.y
Purchasing power, 95 seq.
QUOTAS, 53, 55, 62, 71, 88.
REALISM, 12 seq.y 16, 21, 26, 29.
Reclamation of land, 32, 41, 128.
Research, etc., 29, 40 seq.y 69,
Rural Reconstruction Associa-
tion, 5, 23 seq.y 42, 70 n.y 115,
118 seq.y 130, 131; Committee,
21 seq., 38.
Russell, Sir John, 41.
SHIPPING interests, 45, 125.
Shortages, 53, 56, 88, 98.
Small holders and holdings, 44,
Smith, Adam, 18.
Soil, 39 seq.
Standard, of life and health, 27,
34, 96 seq.y prices. See
Stapledon, Professor, 128.
Stock, 24, 65, 70, 73, 94, 120, 124.
Storage, 43, 85, 89, 97, 113.
Subsidies, 24, 45, 70, 91, nj seq.y
127 seq.y exporting, 51.
Sugar and sugar beet, 59 seq.,
64, 68, 85, 117 seq., 123, 124.
I 3 8
THE REVIVAL OF AGRICULTURE
Sugar Beet Acts, 117.
Supply and demand, 12, 20, 50,
53> 55 seq., 62 seq., 68, 89,
93 seq., 103, in; Law of,
Surpluses, 44 seq., 53, 56 $*., 93,
975*2., in, 113, 129.
Survey ,"95, in.
TARIFFS. See Import Duties.
Taxation and taxes, 53, 74,
Tithe, 67, 74.
Trade, Agreements, 24, 46; con-
structive and destructive, 18,
UNEMPLOYMENT, n seq., 22,
26 seq., 30 seq., 38 seq., 43 seq.,
67 seq., 70, 86, 95 seq., Ill,
121, 123 seq., 127.
WAGE, regulation and fixing of,
12, 15, 18, 21 seq., 38, 129;
Minimum, 18, 67, 113.
War and food supplies, 42 seq,,
'Wealth,' meaning of, 25 seq.,
Wheat, 15, 19, 24, 37, 43, 59 seq.,
65* 68, 71, 82, 84, 87 n., 113,
117 seq., 122.
Wheat Act, the, 23, 60, 118 seq.
Women's Institutes, 128,
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